To not know what to say?

(85 Posts)
MummyPig24 Tue 09-Oct-12 16:57:09

Moved house a few weeks ago and this morning saw the girl next door. Asked her to come over after school with her kids. They never turned up, I thought they might have been held up at school. After about 45mins I went up stairs. and saw her kids in the garden so I popped round and knocked but no answer. I know I'm being a bit socially retarded here but what do I say next time I see her? Do I knock and say something like "I think we got our wires crossed, I was expecting you, maybe we can arrange another time". Or do I just wait till we bump into each other again and mention it?

threesocksmorgan Tue 09-Oct-12 16:58:50

well maybe your language put her off

Proudnscary Tue 09-Oct-12 17:00:00

Ball's in her court now - onus is on her to broach the subject, not you. There might have been a very good reason for her not turning up and if so she will say so when you bump into each other. If she doesn't then you know she doesn't want to be matey and is a bit anti social and/or rude.

candyflossisevil Tue 09-Oct-12 17:00:49

I would try arrange one last time but if she doesn't seem keen I'd leave it. Just because your neighbours doesn't mean you will be friends.

Brodicea Tue 09-Oct-12 17:01:23

I'd just let it go and just say 'hi' when you see her - it's her chance to explain or reschedule. Maybe she thought it was a casual offer?

JamieandtheMagicTorch Tue 09-Oct-12 17:06:06

I'd leave it. If she forgot, maybe she'll remember when she sees you next.

Possibly she didn't really want to come round (I understand that - I don't really want to get too close to neighbours and be in and out of others houses unless a friendship arose over time - which it has with our neighbours) and couldn't say that, which was unassertive of her (and rude just not to turn up).

If it was that she didn't want to come round, you did nothing wrong. People are just different.

gallifrey Tue 09-Oct-12 17:08:18

what language?

MrsKeithRichards Tue 09-Oct-12 17:11:52


HyvaPaiva Tue 09-Oct-12 17:11:54

what language?

Mumofjz Tue 09-Oct-12 17:12:17

What did she say when you originally asks her?

MrsKeithRichards Tue 09-Oct-12 17:13:01

Ah, I'm guessing the use of retarded.

madmouse Tue 09-Oct-12 17:15:43

Well if you go about using words like 'retarded' you're probably not a very nice person to know biscuit

MrsKeithRichards Tue 09-Oct-12 17:17:07

Retarded is a word you know. It's not always offensive.

HyvaPaiva Tue 09-Oct-12 17:17:18

Sorry, didn't notice the use of retarded when I first read the OP. That's not the best way to describe what you mean, OP, it's pretty offensive. But with regards to your neighbour, just leave it and move on.

MABS Tue 09-Oct-12 17:18:12

definitely not a nice person to know i would say Madmouse ;-)..

threesocksmorgan Tue 09-Oct-12 17:18:42

it is offensive, end of.

millionlovesongslater Tue 09-Oct-12 17:18:43

No offense but she didn't want to come around. She interpreted your invite as 'open ended' so she didn't think you were expecting (ie sitting in and waiting) her so decided to just not bother. When you knocked the door,she though 'shiiiiit its that fucking woman from next door' and hid.

I'd have done exactly the same as her.

Next time you see her, just say 'hi'.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Tue 09-Oct-12 17:19:41

retarded is in common use. I am sure once the OP knows it's offensive she'll stop using it. Many people don't know that it is deemed offensive and so I'd say let's not make assumptions about her whole character on the basis of that

gordyslovesheep Tue 09-Oct-12 17:20:05

depends how you worded it - if you really 'TOLD her' to come round she is well within her rights to think you a bit rude and avoid you

If you asked her and she agreed I would guess she was being polite and isn't keen to befriend you

let it go

MrsKeithRichards Tue 09-Oct-12 17:20:28

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

austenozzy Tue 09-Oct-12 17:24:05

How is every use of the word 'retarded' offensive? That's ignorant nonsense. It just means delayed development, and doesn't only apply to learning or mental ability. It can be applied to all sorts of scenarios.

madmouse Tue 09-Oct-12 17:26:30

Retarded is an out of date and incorrect term for a developmental problem used by some people describe someone who is not very bright. It is in the same league as mong, spaz and nigger.

Times have moved on, don't use the word.

austenozzy Tue 09-Oct-12 17:28:10

OP, I'm guessing the neighbour thought it was a bit of a floating fixture, and something came up, or one of the kids wasn't well, or something like that. Just casually mention you're looking forward to that coffee soon, and leave it with her. If she's not keen, don't sweat it.

TheLightPassenger Tue 09-Oct-12 17:28:24

With regard to OP - I would let it go, as like Jamie posted, she may be trying to give you a gentlish brush off.

wrt to the language issue - the R word is banded about so often as an insult, particularly to people with learning and other disabilities, that I can understand why others find it so offensive. It's not even used for medical reasons over here, thankfully, I believe it may occasionally still be used in the US in medical reports etc.

MadameCreeper Tue 09-Oct-12 17:28:27

Was it clear it was a definite invitation for that afternoon? You made the suggestion and she replied, saying yes that would be nice, see you later.

I've been in a few similar situations where I've not quite known what was meant blush

threesocksmorgan Tue 09-Oct-12 17:29:03

sorry I didn't realise the op had sn, I must have missed that bit.

austenozzy Tue 09-Oct-12 17:32:08

Madmouse: the OP wasn't using retarded in that sense. She was referring to her thought that she might be missing something in the social interaction with her neighbour.

In the same vein, shoot all physicists:

madmouse Tue 09-Oct-12 17:34:01

very clever austenozzy that is so obviously related to what the OP said hmm

austenozzy Tue 09-Oct-12 17:36:41

Are you referring to my on-topic first sentence, or the link? So what did the OP mean with her use of the word retarded?

MummyPig24 Tue 09-Oct-12 17:37:05

Thanks for the replies. Didn't realise describing myself as "socially retarded" would offend but now its been pointed out I won't do it in future. I asked if she would like to come over after school and she said that would be lovely. I guess she forgot or didn't want to. There are other people over there so maybe she double booked and forgot. Never mind, I will leave it up to her. This making friends business is a minefield!

VeremyJyle Tue 09-Oct-12 17:37:14

What's the PC term for fire retardant then?

MrsKeithRichards Tue 09-Oct-12 17:38:44

It's not like she came on and called her neighbour a fucking retarded is it madmouSe?

That would have been offensive.

You can't be offended by a word, be offended by it's context if you must and you don't have to be a genius to figure out there was no malice in it's use here.

MummyPig24 Tue 09-Oct-12 17:39:17

I meant I wasn't sure what the etiquette was regarding the situation. I thought most people would know and i was feeling awkward. That would have been a better word!

EllenJaneisstillnotmyname Tue 09-Oct-12 17:39:58

Same old excuses coming out again by posters who themselves use the R word and don't like to feel they're wrong. 'Socially retarded' is a description that used to be used to describe, among others, people with social disorders such as autism. It's as madmouse says, no longer an acceptable term. Please be educated and stop using it. There is a large and thriving minority of posters on MN with DC who have SN, and it's offensive to keep on using this word and excusing its use.

MrsKeithRichards Tue 09-Oct-12 17:40:54

Mummypig people knew what you meant don't worry. Some people like to look for offense when none was meant.

madmouse Tue 09-Oct-12 17:40:57

I guess these things are easier if you do not have a very bright child at risk of being called a retard due to his disabilities. I will step aside now. MNHQ wants us to 'educate' when we see disablist comments - I have tried.

EllenJaneisstillnotmyname Tue 09-Oct-12 17:41:06

Cross posted, MummyPig. Thank you.

MrsKeithRichards Tue 09-Oct-12 17:41:58

Have you seem me use the word retard?

EllenJaneisstillnotmyname Tue 09-Oct-12 17:42:51

No, just excusing it...

MrsKeithRichards Tue 09-Oct-12 17:43:47

In my previous life I've been waking down the street with kids shouting retard and a hundred other offensive terms at me and the guy I was working with.

I know how loaded and offensive it can be.

It's not an illegal word and has another, perfectly legitimate use.

austenozzy Tue 09-Oct-12 17:44:36

I wouldn't describe someone with a social disorder, or a disorder of any kind, as retarded, as that's plainly offensive. The use of a real word in a different context isn't offensive.

MrsKeithRichards Tue 09-Oct-12 17:45:11

So why accuse me, and others, of using it?

austenozzy Tue 09-Oct-12 17:49:10

I used the word retarded the other day, to describe the slow growth of the laurels I planted in the spring and the effect the wet summer had on them. What should I have said instead?

EllenJaneisstillnotmyname Tue 09-Oct-12 17:49:43

Sorry, austenozzy, I can't think of any 'socially retarded' meaning anything other than than one's social development being 'retarded.' MummyPig has gracefully decided not to continue using the word. Why are you still defending it's use?

MummyPig24 Tue 09-Oct-12 17:49:46

Jeez Louise! Didn't know it was offensive and apologised. Have explained what I meant.

austenozzy Tue 09-Oct-12 17:54:48

She didn't mean that her social development had been retarded in some medical sense, though. You're seeing offensiveness where there is none. She just meant that she thought she was missing something in the one interaction with her neighbour. I don't see how you can see it any other way, unless you load the meaning of a standard word.

MamaMumrOrangeTheGolden Tue 09-Oct-12 17:58:22

Now you are being offensive.

MamaMumrOrangeTheGolden Tue 09-Oct-12 18:00:17

You don't have to educate in an offensive and ignorant way madmouse
And I think 2 out of 3 of your examples were comparable words, the third wasn't.

EllenJaneisstillnotmyname Tue 09-Oct-12 18:01:44

Disablist, racist, sexist. All equally offensive, IMO.

drypond Tue 09-Oct-12 18:08:08

i dont get why anyone would want to protect the use of the word retarded....its not a word we need to use

austenozzy Tue 09-Oct-12 18:08:23

What's 'Disablist, racist, sexist', Ellen? Am I missing something here?

EllenJaneisstillnotmyname Tue 09-Oct-12 18:11:31

MamaMumR was saying that Spaz and Mong are comparable insults, but Nigger is different, in a different league, maybe? I was merely stating that I find disablist insults just as offensive as racist ones, and indeed sexist ones.

austenozzy Tue 09-Oct-12 18:12:47

Ah, I see. Well, we agree there!

Chundle Tue 09-Oct-12 18:12:51

if you were my neighbour and used the word retarded I certainly wouldnt be bringing my kids over

austenozzy Tue 09-Oct-12 18:17:58

Good job she didn't, chundle.

extremepie Tue 09-Oct-12 18:21:10

It does seem to be that some people feel that certain 'ist' comments are in a hierarchy and some are worse that others, which is stupid in my mind.

Prejudiced comments of any description are all just as bad, one is not worse than another they are all just as offensive.

Chundle Tue 09-Oct-12 18:32:33

i agree with extremepie all 'ist' words are on par with each other regardless

fanjoforthemammaries Tue 09-Oct-12 18:32:36

"I guess these things are easier if you do not have a very bright child at risk of being called a retard due to his disabilities"

yes, or one who isn't conventionally bright, to be fair.

fanjoforthemammaries Tue 09-Oct-12 18:36:21

it's not worse to be called it if you are "very bright" wink

TheLightPassenger Tue 09-Oct-12 18:36:27

to be fair to OP, she has apologised for any offence caused by her wording of the post.

otherwise I don't see how Madmouse was offensive or ignorant, just to the point confused

WofflingOn Tue 09-Oct-12 18:40:39

You are right, austenozzy, all of us who object to the word retarded are just being over-sensitive really.
So the fact that seven of the children in my class are bastards shouldn't cause anyone any problems then. I can call them that because their parents aren't married, and according to the dictionary definition, that's what they are.

threesocksmorgan Tue 09-Oct-12 18:44:31

why is madmouses post offensive?
don't get that at all

GoSakuramachi Tue 09-Oct-12 18:44:46

Way to miss a point.

WofflingOn Tue 09-Oct-12 18:49:19

I can't see anything offensive about madmouse's posts. confused
You can be very able, and have a disability that draws insults like 'retard' and 'spaz' very easily.
Retard is too open to misinterpretation to be a word to use lightly any longer, times change.

MrsKeithRichards Tue 09-Oct-12 18:49:43

No one is calling anyone anything!

austenozzy Tue 09-Oct-12 18:55:24

WofflingOn, you've totally missed the point of what I was trying to get across. The OP's use of the word was misinterpreted, and several of us are simply pointing out she wasn't being offensive, and that the word 'retarded' has multiple uses entirely unrelated to any kind of medical condition or insult.

manicinsomniac Tue 09-Oct-12 18:55:50

have we even confirmed that the 'language' comment was aimed at the use of the phrase 'socially retarded'. Because, I didn't even register that bit, I thought the comment was about the reference to a grown woman with kids as a 'girl' grin

But, regardless, I wouldn't bring it up unless she does OP. I'd feel awkward reminding someone that they were supposed to come round.

austenozzy Tue 09-Oct-12 18:56:54

<stage whisper>
Anyone feel like they're suddenly in Private Eye's 'from the messageboards' column?
</stage whisper>

threesocksmorgan Tue 09-Oct-12 18:59:57

there is no excuse to use the r word anymore.
anymore than you can excuse the use of the s word or racist words.

austenozzy Tue 09-Oct-12 19:11:02

threerocks - What, in every situation, ever? Nonsense.

What about when a chemist needs to describe the fraction of an analyte in the mobile phase of a chromatographic system? Are they no longer allowed to refer to the retardation factor in planar chromatography, in case someone gets inexplicably offended?

What if a physicist is defining the electromagnetic potentials for the electromagnetic field generated by time-varying electric current or charge distributions - can they not describe the electromagnetic retarded potentials?

And nobody has told me what I should've said when talking to a fellow dog walker about my laurels.

(heavy doses of wikipedia copy/paste, in case you hadn't noticed...)

JamieandtheMagicTorch Tue 09-Oct-12 19:16:46

manic - or referring to children as the offspring of goats?

EllenJaneisstillnotmyname Tue 09-Oct-12 19:21:02

Same old chestnuts. The OP said, I know I'm being a bit socially retarded here. No, she wasn't. That is like some teenager saying to his mate, 'Am I being a bit retarded or what?' It's unnecessary and if people don't realise how offensive it is then I'm happy to explain it to them in the hope that they will think twice next time and use words that are less offensive. The OP obviously didn't realise her words were offensive and has accepted that and apologised. It's others that keep on banging on about completely different scenarios. Electro magnetic potentials, FFS!

JamieandtheMagicTorch Tue 09-Oct-12 19:25:24


Not sure if you are referring to me

I was trying to be haplessly lighthearted. I'm not really comparing the two smile

I think it's good to air this. I agree that the recognition of disablist language is way behind the recognition of sexist or racist language, and it's important to educate.

Ageist language also gets a bit of an outing on here sometimes

hazeyjane Tue 09-Oct-12 19:26:54

The thing is, there are other perfectly good words to use - 'I am socially inept' for example. Saying 'I am socially retarded' or 'I am a social retard' is just unnecessary.

Having said that, it is a shame that the op has lost the point of what her thread was about, especially as she has apologised.

hazeyjane Tue 09-Oct-12 19:29:14

By the way, someone shared this article with me earlier about the use of the word 'retarded' by Ann Coulter, the US politician. I thought it was a good article.

HecateLarpo Tue 09-Oct-12 19:29:59

Perhaps she didn't want to come but felt too shy to say. How did the conversation go? did you just ask if she wanted to, or put it more like Come Over?

fanjoforthemammaries Tue 09-Oct-12 19:31:41

I would just leave it and wait to see what she says when you next see her..if she doesn't say anything just don't ask.again and leave ball in her court

MummyPig24 Tue 09-Oct-12 19:35:04

Yes we have lost the point! Thanks for all the replies, like many have suggested, I will just say hello when I next see her and leave it up to her. As for the use of the words "girl" and "kids", come on! I said girl because she is my age or a bit younger (early twenties) and that's the word I choose over woman with regards to myself. Strangely enough I haven't asked her which she prefers but will in future refer to all grown females as women, so I don't cause offence. Kids is a commonly used word, imo not offensive, my grandma has a go if I use it but sometimes I choose to.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Tue 09-Oct-12 19:40:11

Mummy - I was joking. Next time I will grin as you do not know me and may have mistaken me for a wally grin

MummyPig24 Tue 09-Oct-12 19:50:17

Sorry Jamie. You cant sat anything here without being jumped on eh?! Anyway I'm off to stuff my face with fajitas cos I'm a fat cow. Sorry for any offence! wink

EllenJaneisstillnotmyname Tue 09-Oct-12 20:02:43

No Jamie, not referring to you. smile I thought perhaps someone had got your goat, but maybe not...

EllenJaneisstillnotmyname Tue 09-Oct-12 20:05:52

MummyPig, do you think she thought you said, 'You'll have to come over with the kids after school,' and thought you meant sometime, not necessarily today. So she said, 'Yes that would be nice, sometime. '

<<stands behind madmouse>>

It is absolutely offensive. Yes, there are some very limited uses of the word, that are fine, in science for instance, but for the most part, it's offensive.

MummyPig24 Tue 09-Oct-12 20:12:28

Something like that Ellen. I'm sure one or the other of us got the wrong end of the stuck.

HollaAtMeBaby Tue 09-Oct-12 22:10:34

God, some people just LOVE to take offence... OP, I would be breezy with your neighbour and not bring up the no-show unless she does. And enjoy your fajitas fatty grin

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