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To say No and speak my mind?

(107 Posts)
Nellelephant Mon 16-Sep-13 09:04:19

Ok, a bit of background: My Sil's boyfriend has just started his job as a teacher. I have been a graphic designer for over 5 years. We are both the same age but he chopped and changed what career he wanted after uni. We very rarely see each other, he's not really someone I or DH would socialise with. To be honest when we do see him I spend my time biting my tongue and tolerating him in order to keep the peace. We have very different views.

Last Friday I had a Facebook post from him completely out of the blue (haven't seen him for 3 months) saying 'you know how you are an awesome and generous designer, well I need a favour. I need a school poster doing by Tuesday, can I count on you?

Now maybe to most people that is a fair enough favour to ask of me but I found it patronising and degrading. Surely school posters are a part of his job that he is getting paid to do! I would never ask a favour of someone I don't have anything to do with for months at a time. It made me feel like I'm seen as a child with a crayon and that my profession is viewed as twee: want something to look pretty, ask Nell to do it for free. My Fil did something similar recently for his business and I never got a thank you and felt incredibly used.

I was pretty stressed out with work last week so I wasn't in the mood for being publicly patronised in this way without saying something. I told him that as a teacher, a school poster is part of his job that he is getting paid to do. At the most if he wants to delegate then he can ask one of his pupils to do it. I said that I'm sure he didn't mean for his comment to come across as patronising or demonstrating such a lack of respect for my profession, but that's how it made me feel so no I will not do you this favour.

He deleted the post and I've not heard from him since but Mil saw my reply and has told me that I am incredibly rude and out of order. That he is entitled to ask me for a favour and that I should be polite because he is practically family.

Perhaps I should have simply said no but I'm fed up of having to bite my tongue when I feel I am being mocked and insulted, just because they are the in laws. Was I wrong to express my opinion, should I have said yes and done his work for him?

Sorry that's so long.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Mon 16-Sep-13 09:25:53

xpost. mickey mouse degree comment removes all doubt.

Unless there is more backstory ie he has belittled and been rude about your career choice or something you were ott.

Asking a graphic designer for help to graphically design a poster for a school event so it looks whizzy and professional is far from patronising or degrading. Bit cheeky maybe if he doesn't know you that well but that's it.

Mintyy Mon 16-Sep-13 09:29:35

You sound like incredibly hard work from that op, tbh.

olidusUrsus Mon 16-Sep-13 09:30:16

It was bad form on his part to ask in the way he did - as a fellow freelancer I totally empathise with you there. But you blew it with your reply, it was way over the top. Will you apologise?

Faithless12 Mon 16-Sep-13 09:30:30

YWBU. Just say no. DH is an illustrator and everyone asks for him to draw them or draw them something, so I know how frustrating it is. DH rationale is: you wouldn't ask your plumber friend to fix your boiler for nothing. However a simple no sorry I'm busy suffices sometimes if people are persistent he says that will take me x amount of time and I can't fit that in with my paying work.

pictish Mon 16-Sep-13 09:30:42

" I'm just fed up of being treated like my job is meaningless and nothing better than a hobby. Frequently I am told that my degree is a Mickey Mouse subject despite me being the only one in the family who is actually using their degree."

And that's wholly of his doing is it? Are you really so puffed up over this that you consider yourself above being ask for a favour?

Sorry OP - I can see what motivated your response - but perhaps it might have been better to keep it in your head on this particular occasion. It's like using a mallet to crack a nut. You have made yourself look haughty and arrogant, rather than professional and busy. Your own doing.

ChasedByBees Mon 16-Sep-13 09:31:56

I don't think that actual comment was patronising. Cheeky yes, but a simple no would have sufficed. You sound haughty and like you're making this into something far bigger than it needs to be.

There is a middle ground between tearing a strip of someone and just doing what everyone asks meekly, just say no pleasantly.

It may be annoying if you feel the family don't respect your degree, but has your SIL's DP ever made that remark or anything like that? The family aren't one homogeneous mass. I actually think you owe an apology.

MrsOakenshield Mon 16-Sep-13 09:32:16

ok, until you got to the comment about the mickey mouse degree I was all for saying YABU and chippy and defensive.

Who on earth are these people who think that being a graphic designer isn't a proper job? Is it your ILs? They are very ignorant if so, and perhaps now is the time to tell them.

I do think that asking a favour like that via a public forum is pretty much obliging you to say yes - why on earth didn't he text or ring you, or send you a FB message?

so, all in all, YANBU.

StuntGirl Mon 16-Sep-13 09:32:40

You were a bit ott in your reply but he was a cheeky sod for asking, especially the way he did, and especially if he's been rude about your career in the past. Ignore, they probably won't ask again now smile

YoniMitchell Mon 16-Sep-13 09:34:15

You sound v touchy op! I'd have just either said sure and quoted my going rate for the work (clearly he's after a freebee so would decline) or said I simply didn't have the time. No need for the rant IMO.

HitTheNorth Mon 16-Sep-13 09:34:18

I can definitely see why the way he asked wound you up, op. Just ask me whether I can do something for you or not, I don't need buttering up. I have a friend who does this and it makes me cringe and really not want to help. Also he should not have asked you publicly over facebook. A polite email or phone call would have been much better.

pictish Mon 16-Sep-13 09:34:37

Btw - I am the queen of impulsive responses. I have learned the hard way - you often live to regret a knee jerk reaction.
I have a rule for myself now - if I have something of gravity or import to say, and I have time to mull it over, I sleep on it.

StyleManual Mon 16-Sep-13 09:35:26

I can see why he got your back up. His message is rather twattish - no please or thank yous. But your response is way OTT and you lost the moral high ground. Think you might need to apologise.

BackforGood Mon 16-Sep-13 09:35:52

Agree with everyone else. Fine to say you were busy / couldn't fit it in, but completely OTT, and rude to say what you did - either privately or publicly.

Ifcatshadthumbs Mon 16-Sep-13 09:36:02

Erm massive over reaction on your part. Let's be honest you just don't like the guy so don't want to do him a favour fair enough but I think your public response on facebook has made you look like a bit of a prat with a chip on their shoulder.

Partridge Mon 16-Sep-13 09:36:05

Incredibly unreasonable. You sound so precious about your career too. Who really gives much of a shit about what anyone else does for work - i dont get the idea that everyone should be showing deference to you and I get told affectionately all the time that I did a Mickey Mouse degree. Get a sense of humour and perspective.

Poor guy - sounds like he was trying to engender some friendship, albeit clumsily - and you totally humiliated him. Your poor dh too. You do sound v v hard work.

CoffeeTea103 Mon 16-Sep-13 09:37:14

He may have been a bit cheeky to ask you, but you were so rude that I would expect the family to be rightly upset with you.
All he did was ask for a favor, you could have privately sent him a message with your speech. Yabu

Ifcatshadthumbs Mon 16-Sep-13 09:39:00

Oh and I think as well as apologising I think you should thank him for deleting the comment, personally I would have left it there so everyone can see what a crappy attitude you have.

MrsLouisTheroux Mon 16-Sep-13 09:39:55

I wanted everyone to see my reply
Well I'm sure they did. Your reply was rude, massively over the top and the chip on your shoulder is there for everyone to see. I'm sure he is irritating, his request was very forward and more like a demand but your response was far worse.

LePamplemousseMousse Mon 16-Sep-13 09:42:05

Hmmm. Well if you are constantly being belittled I can see where the reaction has come from, but it still does sound OTT as his actual request isn't patronising at face value. I can understand that it's hit a raw nerve, but by responding so aggressively you've put yourself in the wrong and - frankly - made yourself look a bit of a tit.

I think an apology to him is still due, and perhaps MIL too. You could use this as an opportunity to directly address the negative comments and belittling of your degree etc., but only if you think you can keep your temper and not pile more aggressive fuel on the fire.

You could say (in person or by phone, not by email as it's probably best not to have any more written records of this issue): "I'm really sorry about that message. It came during a busy and stressful week. I should have found a way to say no more politely. I'm afraid part of my reaction is due to the fact that I feel the family don't value my job or my degree - it's been called 'Mickey Mouse' before and that is really hurtful. I took your request for a favour in the wrong way because of that - that you didn't value my time or my work as much as your own - but I see that I over reacted and I'm sure that's not what you meant. Can we just put this down to experience and forget it?'

As someone who's going through the pain of family estrangement at the moment I can tell you that this small stuff can really blow up and get out of hand before you know it. Do try to get them to understand your point of view but try not to make too much of it. It's just not worth the risk of falling out with half your family.

MrsLouisTheroux Mon 16-Sep-13 09:43:28

Also, it's a poster FGS for a school I also have a degree in @"&? design and I could knock a school poster out in half an hour because I know what I'm doing. Other people don't. You could have helped.

Parmarella Mon 16-Sep-13 09:46:32

agree that you sound like hard work.

Can't you just say: "Thanks for asking but am too busy this week, maybe next time."

I am all for saying "no", for whatever reason, but by making it a bit dramatic and posting reply publicly, you then ended up being the unreasonable one.

roundtable Mon 16-Sep-13 09:46:32

Apologise for being snippy. Tell him you're busy and were a bit stressed when you wrote your reply and realise it was rude. Then say sorry I'm unable to do it as I'm very busy but I hope whatever the poster is for goes well.

Do it publicly on fb again so everyone can see your apology since they got the treat of seeing your public tongue lashing.

Next time think before you type/speak. His tone is annoying but your response was disproportionate.

Partridge Mon 16-Sep-13 09:46:58

Exactly louis. He asked because the op is good at that stuff and he probably isn't. Not because he sees his career as more important. All this sniffing around for offence smacks of deep insecurity.

Ifcatshadthumbs Mon 16-Sep-13 09:50:08

Also the poster for school may be for a PTA fundraising event and he may have just "I know a graphic designer, maybe if I ask she will help us out with something". You know occasionally people do request people's professional help for charitable benefits and occasionally professionals are obliging.

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