Author Topic: Is it always rude not to take part in a social situation?  (Read 3021 times)

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Ereine

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Is it always rude not to take part in a social situation?
« on: August 09, 2010, 08:14:17 AM »
(I'm sorry about the title, I couldn't think of anything better)

Recently there's been several threads that have involved social situations and people not being involved in them during the whole time (like the falling asleep in the car thing). The idea that you should be sociable during the whole time is a bit surprising to me, in my country being antisocial isn't really seen as something bad (very sociable people are suspicious). I was wondering if it would be always rude or if there are some exceptions.

I spent last weekend with my boyfriend and his friends (three men, three women) at a country place owned by the parents of one of the friends (it was a wonderful place with sheep and chickens and lots of antiques), we were there from Saturday morning to Sunday evening, so quite a long time. Most of the time people were together, eating, cooking and looking at the sheep. Some people might have drifted a little but during the main social events (mainly meals) everyone was present. Apart from one event, where I didn't take part.

The place was by a lake and as they other people love saunas and swimming they spent couple of hours in the evening doing that. I stayed at the house and read a book. My reason was that I'm rather shy and uncertain about my looks, I don't want to be naked in front of a group of people I don't know that well (actually it's easier to be naked among strangers, like at the pool) and I don't really enjoy saunas that much, especially small saunas where you have to sit very close to the other naked people. They also swam naked, they didn't even bring swimming suits with them (and the place is private enough so that it doesn't bother the neighbours). I don't enjoy that much swimming either, so I much prefered sitting on the porch reading. I could have sat on the beach also, but I didn't really want to look at the naked people (I seem very repressed :)). They didn't seem to mind and apparently there have been people who won't go to sauna with them (like an American girl), but I guess that it might have been better if I took part in some way. So if going with them would have been very stressful for me (staying there was stressful enough), what should I have done? 

MovieLover

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Re: Is it always rude not to take part in a social situation?
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2010, 08:52:59 AM »
I think it's unreasonable to expect guests to take part in every single activity that has been planned in a situation like that.  I wouldn't have gotten naked and gone into the sauna either, a book sounds like the exact alternative I would have chosen.  I absolutely hate to sweat.  Naked activities seem appropriate to me only when you know that EVERYONE that will be present is perfectly OK with it.

Declining to get naked and sit in a hot steam room is not rude, insisting that a guest do so however, is rude (not that this happened in your case).

bopper

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Re: Is it always rude not to take part in a social situation?
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2010, 09:02:37 AM »
I think if there was one event that you didn't take part in, that isn't rude. If you went off on your own most of the time, that would be rude.  BTW I still don't think that one person of many falling asleep in a car is rude and that driver is out of the norm.

Ereine

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Re: Is it always rude not to take part in a social situation?
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2010, 09:13:43 AM »
I completely forgot to add that I have trouble with anxiety and just going there was a huge step. And here's my previous thread on my dating problems, I've progressed a lot since then.

PeasNCues

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Re: Is it always rude not to take part in a social situation?
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2010, 09:18:42 AM »
I think that if the group had made it clear ahead of time that everyone would be expected to participate in group activities the whole time, then it would be best not to accept the invitation since you couldn't agree to the requirements of the group.

However, it sounds like your group was very understanding. :) Glad things are getting better for you!
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magdalena

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Re: Is it always rude not to take part in a social situation?
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2010, 09:19:43 AM »
Ereine, as a fellow Finn I can assure you that it's ok to skip the sauna (not that I ever do now that I don't get the chance to go that often) and swimming.

MovieLover, while I can understand your view on naked activities, I have to defend Ereine's friends here - a summer weekend in the countryside in our home country always, ALWAYS includes sauna :)



Venus193

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Re: Is it always rude not to take part in a social situation?
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2010, 09:56:27 AM »
I don't think there is a one-size-fits-all answer to this, but I think that if you look at the planned activities and decide to opt out of more than a third of them you may be better off declining the invitation.

For the record I don't get naked with anybody, so no matter what your culture says you should not feel strange for feeling that way yourself.

With family it's a little harder.

kingsrings

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Re: Is it always rude not to take part in a social situation?
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2010, 11:01:46 AM »
I wouldn't get naked with a bunch of strangers either, even though I'm 1/4 Finnish. Not participating in that part of my culture, thank you.

I think that with social events, if you're not partaking of most of it, then that is rude, and you should decline to participate. Taking a breather by yourself for a little bit is no big deal.

Flora Louise

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Re: Is it always rude not to take part in a social situation?
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2010, 12:20:06 PM »
(I'm sorry about the title, I couldn't think of anything better)

. . . (very sociable people are suspicious).  . . .

This makes me so sad.


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Lisbeth

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Re: Is it always rude not to take part in a social situation?
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2010, 12:25:22 PM »
Well, I think that if you (generic) plan to not participate in, say, the majority of events, you shouldn't go.

But if you only want to decline a few events, that's reasonable.
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Surianne

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Re: Is it always rude not to take part in a social situation?
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2010, 12:30:15 PM »
I think that with a weekend-long gathering it's quite normal for some people to opt out of some events, and not rude at all.  I'm an introvert and definitely need time to myself, so my friends know that when we get together for a long period of time, I'll probably wander off with a book at some point for some quiet.  Generally we have the main group events and then a lot of "do whatever you want" time. 


Ereine

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Re: Is it always rude not to take part in a social situation?
« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2010, 12:41:38 PM »
(I'm sorry about the title, I couldn't think of anything better)
. . . (very sociable people are suspicious).  . . .
This makes me so sad.

It isn't fun for sociable extroverts, the idea is that "empty barrels make most noise", that is if you talk a lot you probably don't have anything meaningful to say (I don't think so). Also, silence is golden and so on. It does make life easier for introverts, though.

Magdalena, is was a lovely place for sauna and swimming, in Kemiö by a lake (which was a bit strange, a lake on an island), with the sauna next to the beach. They seemed to have a lot of fun, judging by the noise :) (I went swimming the next morning with my boyfriend while the others slept, that was enough swimming for me)

Thank you for your replies, it's good to know that that isn't a bad way to handle things, if I'm in the same situation again.     

guihong

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Re: Is it always rude not to take part in a social situation?
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2010, 12:44:47 PM »
This might be the dumbest question in the world, but in Finland, are saunas like the one described co-ed?  It doesn't change my answer, which was that the OP was fine in opting out. 

(I would have gone, but only BECAUSE these were strangers, and hello!  I'm in Finland  ;D)

I asked, because in everything I've read about Russian banya, it's either separate sections or separated by day (women come on Monday, men on Tuesday, for example).

gui



Carnation

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Re: Is it always rude not to take part in a social situation?
« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2010, 12:50:46 PM »
I'm sure you're not the first person who has declined such an invitation.


zoidberg

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Re: Is it always rude not to take part in a social situation?
« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2010, 01:05:53 PM »
This might be the dumbest question in the world, but in Finland, are saunas like the one described co-ed?  It doesn't change my answer, which was that the OP was fine in opting out. 

(I would have gone, but only BECAUSE these were strangers, and hello!  I'm in Finland  ;D)

I asked, because in everything I've read about Russian banya, it's either separate sections or separated by day (women come on Monday, men on Tuesday, for example).

gui

Saunas tend to be co-ed in most of Europe. There might be a "Just for women" slot sometimes, but it's considered completly normal to go with mixed-groups.