Author Topic: An Ongoing Assumption (Update)  (Read 4462 times)

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Ponytail_Palm

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An Ongoing Assumption (Update)
« on: October 10, 2010, 06:29:03 PM »
I'm not sure what to do about this (if anything), mainly because it has been going on for several years now.

I have been d@ting my boyfriend for 3 1/2 years. I have gotten to know his family very well, and while they are all really warm, fun people, they are also extremely outspoken. Some members of the family have a tendency to make comments like "Oh, so-and-so? He's that nutcase from XYZ religion!" or "I can't believe there are so many idiots out there who voted for X." I am somewhat reserved and rarely discuss my political or religious views with people - so they have no idea that I may be XYZ religion or may have voted for X. I met them when I was 17 and less confident than I am now, so I have never said anything direct.

Here's where the assumption part comes in: I've discussed it with my boyfriend, and he says they just assume I share his political and religious views, since I'm d@ting him. He doesn't even necessarily hold those views anymore (he's not lived at home for a few years and his views have changed), but he doesn't think it's a big deal.

I don't like the rude comments they make (even if they don't directly insult me, they often insult my friends or family), nor do I appreciate the assumption that "she's d@ting him, she must be just like him." But I also don't want to hurt the feelings of these people who mean a lot to me. Should I just keep letting it go or is there a gentle way to tell them that their comments are offensive without getting into my personal beliefs? I think they may just expect me to speak up and debate with them, but no one likes a six-on-one debate...
« Last Edit: October 18, 2010, 10:35:41 PM by Bohemian »

Jan74

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Re: An Ongoing Assumption
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2010, 09:20:02 PM »
Personally, I just ignore it unless specifically asked. Like you, I don't discuss my political beliefs - I disclose my religion if someone asks, but I don't even disclose who I vote for etc. Part of it is etiquette, part of it is that any discussion of that would have me coming off snotty - I was a Poli Sci major, after all.  ;D So when my husband's family (the few that I do like) says stuff like "The president ruined our country" [FYI - I am not in the US, this has nothing to do with the US president in any way, shape or form - not intended as bait for political discussion], I just go "Hmmm" and keep it to that. I don't pretend to agree, but I don't engage either.

Darcy

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Re: An Ongoing Assumption
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2010, 03:54:36 AM »
If you can (and if you're not directly confronted about it) I'd follow your boyfriend's lead and let it go.  It could stir up too much trouble to confront them.

JoieGirl7

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Re: An Ongoing Assumption
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2010, 04:03:49 AM »
Bean dip, bean dip, bean dip!!!

Ponytail_Palm

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Re: An Ongoing Assumption (Update)
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2010, 10:35:23 PM »
I just had an opportunity to try both the "complete silence" and the "bean dip" for the same comment...BF's dad and I were talking about a family friend and his crazy tendencies (BTW don't think we were sitting there trashing him, this guy would be the first to admit he's eccentric).

BF's Dad: ...and even worse, the shows he listens to are on Nazi Radio!
Me: What is Nazi Radio...?
BF's Dad: [local station, nothing to do with Nazis at all, just not in line with his political sensibilities]
Me: ...
BF's Dad: ...
Me: I have the funniest picture of him talking to this other guy! etc. etc. etc.

Is creating an awkward silence like that an acceptable response to overly opinionated comments?

Dindrane

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Re: An Ongoing Assumption (Update)
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2010, 11:14:10 PM »
I just had an opportunity to try both the "complete silence" and the "bean dip" for the same comment...BF's dad and I were talking about a family friend and his crazy tendencies (BTW don't think we were sitting there trashing him, this guy would be the first to admit he's eccentric).

BF's Dad: ...and even worse, the shows he listens to are on Nazi Radio!
Me: What is Nazi Radio...?
BF's Dad: [local station, nothing to do with Nazis at all, just not in line with his political sensibilities]
Me: ...
BF's Dad: ...
Me: I have the funniest picture of him talking to this other guy! etc. etc. etc.

Is creating an awkward silence like that an acceptable response to overly opinionated comments?

Yes indeed it is.  You didn't call him rude, you didn't point anything out.  You just let it sink in what he'd said and changed the subject before he could stick his foot further in his mouth. :)

Or, if he didn't realize the implications of what he said, he at least got a clue that you didn't think he was making any sense.  Hopefully, either way, the awkward pause before changing the subject will teach him to avoid topics like that with you.


DangerMouth

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Re: An Ongoing Assumption
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2010, 11:24:43 PM »
Personally, I just ignore it unless specifically asked. Like you, I don't discuss my political beliefs - I disclose my religion if someone asks, but I don't even disclose who I vote for etc. Part of it is etiquette, part of it is that any discussion of that would have me coming off snotty - I was a Poli Sci major, after all.  ;D So when my husband's family (the few that I do like) says stuff like "The president ruined our country" [FYI - I am not in the US, this has nothing to do with the US president in any way, shape or form - not intended as bait for political discussion], I just go "Hmmm" and keep it to that. I don't pretend to agree, but I don't engage either.

ITA. I was visiting an eldely aunt in the hospital last week, whom I hadn't seen for years, and she started in on the Obama this and Obama that. I just smiled and beandipped. Considering the level of discourse in this country these days, I can't believe anyone thinks politics or religion is a polite subject of conversation anymore.

holly firestorm

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Re: An Ongoing Assumption (Update)
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2010, 06:57:22 PM »
I grew up in a family where political debate was definitely considered appropriate conversation...at the top of your lungs in some cases, but still appropriate.

And yet, even after being raised in a group with wildly differing political opinions, it took me a while to realize that you can't assume someone hold similiar views to you on all things just because you enjoy their company.  How naive of me!  How naive of your boyfriend's relatives!

Ponytail_Palm

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Re: An Ongoing Assumption (Update)
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2010, 03:19:47 PM »
I think "naive" is a good way to describe it. Not intentionally rude, but not very sensitive.

Animala

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Re: An Ongoing Assumption (Update)
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2010, 03:26:39 PM »
Yes, awkward silence is an excellent tool.