Author Topic: Dramatically Different Points of View and Beating Dead Horses...  (Read 14992 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

magiccat26

  • Goddess in training!
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2329
So, my newest neighbor (Donna) has three children...one is Kitten's age and they have become very good friends.  For that reason, Donna and I do interact often.  There are two topics Donna is VERY passionate about...education and nutrition.

Donna home schools her children, Kitten (my daughter) attends public school (we live in a wonderful school district).  Whenever the subject of schooling comes up, Donna goes on a tirade of how AWEFUL schools are.  How damaging to our children's' intelligence and creativity they are, etc.  How any well informed parent would pull their child immediately from public OR private school because the schools just cannot offer what kids really need....etc.

These tirades are started by the most innocent comments.  We were standing outside talking one evening and a new neighbor stopped by and asked about enrollment dates for the 2011-2012 school year.  I started to respond to her question and Donna had to make sure the neighbor knew all the evils of public/private school.  She always ends her sermons with, "Of course, that's just MY opinion."

Another topic is nutrition.  She is convinced that everything we put into our bodies is toxic and is going to kill us.  She only eats organically grown products...her meats are ordered on-line from places that only feed their animals natural/organic foods.  She also goes off on the EVILS of high-fructose corn syrup.  If you mention something tasting funny she will immediately jump into a lecture on how CHEMICALS are ruining our foods and poisoning our bodies.  I have been instructed to never feed her children when they are over because they are on VERY special diets and she doesn't want their bodies invaded by the toxins in the foods I buy (since I don't buy organic).  I can respect that, I won't feed her kids, although I do resent the implications that I am poisoning my child.

Now, I see some of her points and agree, to an extent...but she is a zealot.  She will find the most innocent comment and use it to launch onto her soapbox and lecture the audience with her beliefs....ALWAYS ending with, "Sorry, I know I just go off, but this is a topic I'm passionate about!"

I've tried bean-dip.  I've tried the "stare and blink" tactic.  But, while she will often allow the topic change, if the opportunity to lecture arises again (and it can be something as innocent as stating you are thirsty!  Did you know most of our drinking water is contaminated and it's poisoning us slowly??!!??!!), she's off again dominating the conversation.

So, wise eHellions, are there any other polite tactics I can try to let Donna know that while we respect her passion for her causes...we've heard it all before and we really don't want to hear it again?


“If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning.” — Catherine Aird

wyozozo

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3232
  • Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult!
Re: Dramatically Different Points of View and Beating Dead Horses...
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2011, 02:19:28 PM »
I'd be tempted to put up my hand and say "STOP, we know you are passionate about this but you've made your point many times".  Abrupt, yes. Rude, maybe not.



Ruelz

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1254
Re: Dramatically Different Points of View and Beating Dead Horses...
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2011, 02:20:29 PM »
Good question!

Just introduce her to me...I'm not a fan of home-schooling (unless there are very compelling circumstances warranting it)...nor I am a fan of 'organic must be better' (it can be, or it can not be).  We'll talk. ;)

Seriously, it's fine to be vocal and share differing opinions (that's how we learn), but it's rude to imply that someone else must be wrong if they don't happen to share your viewpoints.

"The only difference between a rut and a grave is their dimensions." Ellen Glasgow

Lisbeth

  • I am a rock, I am an island
  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 29353
  • a/k/a KeenReader
Re: Dramatically Different Points of View and Beating Dead Horses...
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2011, 02:20:44 PM »
"Donna, we already know your opinion.  We don't need to hear it again."

Or "Donna, please respect that we don't agree with you.  Just as you're entitled to your opinions, we are entitled to ours."
I'm away from sanity right now...please leave a message after the beep.
NYC

Shoo

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 16393
Re: Dramatically Different Points of View and Beating Dead Horses...
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2011, 02:22:24 PM »
Honestly, I'd go out of my way to avoid that person, and I'm not sure I'd encourage a friendship between our children.  Life is just too short to put up with people like that.

Kaypeep

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2305
Re: Dramatically Different Points of View and Beating Dead Horses...
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2011, 02:45:53 PM »
I'd be tempted to put up my hand and say "STOP, we know you are passionate about this but you've made your point many times".  Abrupt, yes. Rude, maybe not.

I like this reply very much.  I'd even add "STOP, we know you are passionate about this but you've made your point many times and it's actually quite tedious to hear a lecture every time we're together.  Can we please just have a simple, non-controversial conversation for a change?"

hobish

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 18186
  • Release the gelfling!
Re: Dramatically Different Points of View and Beating Dead Horses...
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2011, 03:11:25 PM »
I'd be tempted to put up my hand and say "STOP, we know you are passionate about this but you've made your point many times".  Abrupt, yes. Rude, maybe not.

It is the most polite thing i would be able to muster, i think. This is an interesting topic.

It's alright, man. I'm only bleeding, man. Stay hungry, stay free, and do the best you can.
~Gaslight Anthem

magiccat26

  • Goddess in training!
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2329
Re: Dramatically Different Points of View and Beating Dead Horses...
« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2011, 03:24:38 PM »
Honestly, I'd go out of my way to avoid that person, and I'm not sure I'd encourage a friendship between our children.  Life is just too short to put up with people like that.

I don't disagree with you about Donna, but her daughter (Vicki) is a good kid.  My child is an only child and is desperate to have kids to play with.  Most of the Moms in our community are the "scheduled play dates with planned activities" types.  Donna and I are one of the few who think "spontaneous play time is good and healthy!"  Vicki is often at our house and it has become apparent that she is lonely too. 

Since she is home schooled, she rarely gets social time with any other kids beside her siblings.  She does go to gymnastics, but her Mom is pushing her to be competitive and so it's not really a "social" thing for her.  Our home is VERY laid back...and I can see her relaxing and enjoying herself.  I would hate to punish the girls because the Mother is a bit of a pain.

I want to maintain a friendly but distant connection with Donna for both Vicki and Kitten's sake.  That's why I was hoping for some suggestions on how to get her to stay off her soapbox.  (I'm hoping I can be brave enough to try some of the suggestions here!)

Good question!

Just introduce her to me...I'm not a fan of home-schooling (unless there are very compelling circumstances warranting it)...nor I am a fan of 'organic must be better' (it can be, or it can not be).  We'll talk. ;)

Seriously, it's fine to be vocal and share differing opinions (that's how we learn), but it's rude to imply that someone else must be wrong if they don't happen to share your viewpoints.

DH and I are of similar opinions.  There are pros and cons to many different lifestyles and every family should choose what works for them.  We try to be healthy, but we're not militant about it.  We send our child to public school, but we are VERY involved and work with her at home too.  We've tried to find a balance that works for us. 

I'm glad Donna is so involved with her children and their health, but her choices are not the right ones for us.  I just wish I could get this across to her.  She's not going to change my mind and I know I'm not going to change her mind.

If it makes any difference, Donna is 20 years older than me and admits that she's very set in her ways. 
“If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning.” — Catherine Aird

Ruelz

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1254
Re: Dramatically Different Points of View and Beating Dead Horses...
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2011, 03:27:47 PM »
I suppose then, at some point, over coffee one day...just laughingly say something along the lines of:

"I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree then."  Then change the subject.

And don't worry about it anymore. (Or at least try to).
"The only difference between a rut and a grave is their dimensions." Ellen Glasgow

LEMon

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1601
Re: Dramatically Different Points of View and Beating Dead Horses...
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2011, 08:33:34 PM »
I would try a proactive approach. 
At a time when things are calm, tell her you value the relationship the girls have, you like her, but the lectures have to stop.  You know what she thinks.  You will support her regarding her child and food.  But she needs to stop lecturing you, or you will want to spend a lot less time around her.  And that would be a pitty.

Then pick out your favorite interrupt from above, and use as needed.

I suspect she needs a place to be herself as much as her child does, but she hasn't let herself be there with you yet.  For her sake, I hope she can.

Minmom3

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2435
Re: Dramatically Different Points of View and Beating Dead Horses...
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2011, 12:30:59 AM »
Ask her how many times you need to be lectured before she gives up on you?   ::)  Because respecting her point of view doesn't mean your ears need to be singed on a daily/hourly basis.
Mother to children and fuzz butts....

greencat

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2558
Re: Dramatically Different Points of View and Beating Dead Horses...
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2011, 12:44:18 AM »
Just tell her that you're tired of it, and that she needs to find new conversational topics.  The SECOND she starts in with either topic, just say "now, Donna, we talked about this remember, and the rest of us find the (school/food) issue to be very boring to discuss!  Let's talk about (bean dip goes here) instead!"  It's very important that you interrupt her the second she gets going though - don't let her build up steam.

JoieGirl7

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7375
Re: Dramatically Different Points of View and Beating Dead Horses...
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2011, 12:48:32 AM »
"Donna, my kids go to public school.  I would appreciate it if you wouldn't trash where they go to school."

On the toxins that are in everything, I would say (with apologies to Homer Simpson):
"Mmmmm....  Toxins!"
 

Deetee

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5659
Re: Dramatically Different Points of View and Beating Dead Horses...
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2011, 01:48:25 AM »
Could you try some friendly but firm beandip?

"Donna, I'm glad you've found what works for you and *BIG SMILE* we're glad to have found what works for us. Isn't it great we live in a free country where we can each decide what we think is best for our own kids?"

and if she continues..

"Donna, it's starting to sound a lot like you disapprove of how we have chosen to educate/feed our daughter? I'm sure you are talking about what works for you and that's great, but I'm starting feel a bit uncomfortable." (quizzical, puzzled, friendly tone)

Of course if it were me, I'd say "You know. I send my kid to public school and I'm right here and can hear you talking"

Cuddlepie

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 575
Re: Dramatically Different Points of View and Beating Dead Horses...
« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2011, 02:09:06 AM »
There are a wonderful bunch of great lines given here.  Practise them all and use at your pleasure so you can keep your cool while enduring her lectures.

I hate putting this thought out into the cosmos, but what if Donna starts being passionate about all those horrible nasty chemical cleaning products too?  I can see your patience being tested over and over unless you can nip 'Miss Passionflower' in the bud.