WIBU to explain/apologise or would I be making things worse

(16 Posts)
Narnia72 Thu 28-Jan-16 11:27:44

Feel really bad, was chatting to one of the mums of a little boy in my son's class. She's just adopted him, and everything is very new. They are a lovely family and he is a lovely little boy. Understandably she is sometimes a bit defensive about things. I really like her though, and think there is the potential for a nice friendship there. BUT

I keep putting my foot in my mouth by saying things thoughtlessly and then seeing her cringe. With anyone else I'd say something, ie apologise, but I don't know her well enough to know whether me drawing attention still further would make matters worse.

So today I said something along the lines of "there are a couple of lovely little boys in x activity, A (her boy) would like B (other little boy) he's a sweetie, and he's even smaller than A". As soon as I said it I was mortified. I wanted to say "sorry, that was incredibly tactless of me, I didn't mean to imply A was small, and of course they all grow at different rates " but I didn't know whether that would make things worse. We carried on the conversation ignoring my gaffe and she left a couple of minutes later with a strained smile.

I don't do this with anyone else. I think I'm being so careful to say the "right" thing with her, that I inadvertently say the wrong thing.

Should I let it go now, accept that she thinks I'm socially inadequate at best and rude/thoughtless at worst, or apologise to her at pick up.

What would you think if I said this to you and you did have a short for his age boy? I have no idea whether it's something that concerns her FWIW, but she noticeably cringed, so I suspect it is.

RedMapleLeaf Thu 28-Jan-16 11:31:25

I would say pretty much what you've said here.

Imnotaslimjim Thu 28-Jan-16 11:32:00

I'd just forget about it if I we're you

Are you sure she's cringing? From what you've said none of it is too bad. If you don't mind me asking (obviously you don't have to answer) do you struggle with social interactions? You sound like you're stressing over something that isn't there

Narnia72 Thu 28-Jan-16 11:40:47

Thanks both. Slim Jim - no I don't normally. I think she's quite a shy person anyway, and has confided in me about some her worries, and I've been trying to reassure her and seem to just say the wrong thing.

I had an old boss who I used to do the same thing with, always trying a bit too hard and said the wrong thing. He made it clear he thought I was a bit rude and didn't like him, and we never gelled as a result.

Most of the time I get on well with people and have a good group of friends. It's very out of character for me to be so tactless, which is why I'm obsessing about it a bit.

She is definitely cringing from the face she pulls. She looked almost stricken when I said it. Had been smiling.

LaContessaDiPlump Thu 28-Jan-16 11:44:15

You have my sympathy Narnia as I tend to do this too! It's hard to stop caring (or rather, stress less) on demand though, isn't it.

In fact we have lovely visitors this weekend and I am nervous because it seems like I put my foot in it every time I see them. Because I am nervous, I will doubtless do so again confused argh!

blobbityblob Thu 28-Jan-16 11:46:11

With even the one or two very good friends I have at the school gate I make these types of gaff on occasion. As do they. I would leave it at that and see if she approaches you again. If you try to bring it up again, you'll dig yourself into a deeper hole.

I try to steer clear of making any remarks about other people's dc, apart from congratulating them if they've won something. It can so easily be taken the wrong way. But it's not something I knew from the outset - it took several similar gaffs to sink in. You live and learn.

Imnotaslimjim Thu 28-Jan-16 11:47:06

In that case I would say it is the fact that you're worried you'll put your foot in it that's making you put you're foot in it! Like when you're in company that you shouldn't swear in and manage to say Fuck because you're telling yourself not to!

My only advice is try hard to relax around her, and forget about what you've said previously or the stress will have you saying things you don't intend

x2boys Thu 28-Jan-16 11:56:55

I do this when I, m trying hard not to say anything tactless the other day for example me and ds were at an event and I was talking to another mum her two little girls were dressed in two lovely dresse,s I commented how pretty they were and said they were old fashioned I didn't mean it how it sounded I meant they were the types of dresses that mothers traditionally used to dress their little girls in when I was a child I don't think she took offence and she agreed but it did make my cringe a bit beautiful dresses by the way jools Oliver apparently.

FeliciaJollygoodfellow Thu 28-Jan-16 11:59:34

This genuinely wouldn't even register on my radar I don't think. I don't think adoption thing is relevant at all - you mentioned her son is small. She's presumably not blind and knows he is small?

I don't know why she pulled a face at this particular thing (unless of course you're leaving out something!) but I'd just forget about it if I were you.

Micah Thu 28-Jan-16 12:06:41

I have a shortie and I wouldn't be bothered about it at all.

However, I know mine is happy and healthy, just short. It might not be that you've offended her as such, but you may have inadvertently pointed out something that she knows is "wrong"- he may be short due to his early life, or may be under medical care and possibly be looking at hormone treatment etc.

I'd leave it I think. Possibly if the conversation steers to the adoption or her difficulties at any time maybe say something along the lines of it being a minefield, you know how people say the wrong things without meaning too, and apologies if you've ever said anything that made her feel uncomfortable. And to please pull you up if you do!

DextersMistress Thu 28-Jan-16 12:29:33

Oh op I've done similar, chatting to one of the mums at school I asked the age of her dd she had in the buggy. She told me she was 14 months and as she was also heavily pregnant I replied oh, that's a small age gap. Was it planned? blush

I felt awful and immediately apologised, luckily she wasn't offended and we're now friends smile

I'd probably mention something to her as it'll bother you every time you speak to her and you'll be constantly worried about it.

NoSquirrels Thu 28-Jan-16 12:32:12

I don't think there's a right or wrong in this scenario - it's up to you how comfortable you are.

You could a) say "I'm so sorry about earlier, I spoke without thinking about X being short, and I know I put my foot in my mount - what an idiot I am, I'v been worrying you would think I'm being rude about him and I really didn't mean to. I just speak without thinking sometimes."

Or you could b) say nothing, keep being friendly, assume that although she winced and it was tactless that it's probably nothing to get too upset about and as you continue to get to know one another it will be totally forgotten. Everyone says dumb stuff sometimes and I wouldn't think about it if it was said to me.

Next time, do what you'd do with anyone else and apologise straight away if you say something you regret. You don't need to know someone well to say sorry when you think you've said the wrong thing.

APlaceOnTheCouch Thu 28-Jan-16 12:32:51

Don't explain - just leave it. She will know he is small. My DS is teeny we celebrated when he had a growth spurt and for the first time ever, wasn't the smallest in his class I wouldn't take offence at someone stating the obvious.

flowers don't over-think it and do still chat to her.

NoSquirrels Thu 28-Jan-16 12:33:07

MOUTH! Foot in my mouth, obviously, not mount, which sounds . . . odd. grin

MadamCroquette Thu 28-Jan-16 12:33:33

Oh OP I know the feeling. I'm terrible for saying the wrong thing and then sweating about it for weeks. But I do think it would be better to leave it and not dig deeper. Just continue to be friendly and kind when you can.

At one of DD's birthday parties there was a friend who is very short and I got him mixed up with someone's little brother who is only a toddler. I called him by the wrong name in front of his parents and it must have looked like I was thinking, "ach, the short ones, they all look the same". blush Felt awful about it for ages.

But since then I've noticed that some other people are ruder than me. I've heard people say things like "X is really tiny, is there something wrong with him?" – now that's tactless! If it was clear you meant to be nice, but put your foot in it a bit, that's not so bad.

Narnia72 Fri 29-Jan-16 10:26:00

Thanks all for the reassurance that I'm not the only one who does this from time to time.

She smiled and said good morning today, so seems like it wasn't a deal breaker. I will think before I speak in future.

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