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to ask if you think you have been overlooked because of your perceived lack of wealth?

(160 Posts)
suebfg Sun 09-Dec-12 21:58:18

I didn't used to think that this sort of thing existed (maybe I am too naive) but since DS started at school, I feel as if I have been bypassed by a few people because I don't wear certain clothes, drive a fancy car etc. Are people really so shallow?

Sugarbeach Mon 10-Dec-12 08:09:38

I don't think they were being shallow though we're they Bike? At least they tried to include you at the beginning.

I think the OP was referring to school gate mums who blank you because they've judged where you sit in their mentally constructed social hierarchy...if even people share this mental construct then it becomes a social reality....iykwim.

Sugarbeach Mon 10-Dec-12 08:10:55

If enough people...

BikeRunSki Mon 10-Dec-12 08:12:24

Yes, you are right Sugarbeach.

BikeRunSki Mon 10-Dec-12 08:14:19

Yes, you are right Sugarbeach. But one if them (a prep school mum as it happens) barely deigns to look at me - apart from when she drive her Range Rover into my Skoda!

BikeRunSki Mon 10-Dec-12 08:15:10

Yes, you are right Sugarbeach. But one of them (a prep school mum as it happens) barely deigns to look at me - apart from when she drive her Range Rover into my Skoda!

Sugarbeach Mon 10-Dec-12 08:16:22

And expect you to move out of the way? Yes, sounds familiar.....

bringbacksideburns Mon 10-Dec-12 08:24:17

Not at all.

There was one very posh wedding i went to once though, where we felt judged on our accents. But it was laughable really, because the people in question were pretty horrible and arrogant and not the sort of people you'd choose to spend time with anyway.

Anyone like this with you - it really is their problem and shows them up for the vapid snotty small minded person they are. Plus, life can change at the flip of a coin. They never know where they could end up.

HolofernesesHead Mon 10-Dec-12 08:25:11

It's not just prep schools that have this kind of attitude. My dcs' first pre-school was in an area with mostly social housing and ex council housing, and when I went to look round that wasn't a problem for me at all. But when dc went to the pre-school, I was completely frozen out by the other parents as I didn't have the right accent for them, II didn't have the same clothes (they were much trendier!) and so on.

I tried really hard to fit in, make genuine friends etc, but it was never going to happen because I was perceived as 'posh' or rich (hah!) It was really sad, tbh, and at that time I was quite lonely. Getting across any perceived divide can be really tough.

bringbacksideburns Mon 10-Dec-12 08:28:26

I find it apalling that attitudes like that still exist Holo.
And usually not amongst the very rich either. I have a friend who makes Prince Charles sound common and he is the loveliest person you could ever mett - couldn't give a stuff if you travelled in a limo, old banger, or bike tbh.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Mon 10-Dec-12 08:33:05

Often I think it's not about perceptions of superiority/inferiority but of difference. People don't know how to talk to people who they perceive as being very different to themselves. We all know those few people who can talk to anybody and everybody, but they are not the majority (it's quite a skill i think).

worsestershiresauce Mon 10-Dec-12 08:36:15

It is just as common the other way. I'm on the other side of the fence, I'm one of those rich cows you all hate. When I first moved to the village I met a lovely lady (bought a second hand sofa from her) and we met up once a week to walk the dogs. I thought we got on really well. Then (stupidly) one day I invited her round for a coffee after the walk, and that was it. Once she knew I was the 'lady from the big house' she never spoke to me again, ignored my texts and blanked me in the street. I was really upset. I had similar experiences with other people.

I think people judge, either way. I genuinely want to be friends with anyone who has anything in common with me, but have been pushed out by everyone but those with a similar financial position. It makes me embarrassed and awkward about where I live. I dress in stuff from topshop, drive a small inexpensive car, and don't use private schools, but I'm still not worthy to socialise with some people.

saccrofolium Mon 10-Dec-12 08:45:08

What worsestershiresauce said. I was quite friendly with the wife of one of DH's friends who whenever she had had a drink would bang on and on about "and I suppose you look at my clothes and think How Cheap, and I suppose you look at our house and think How Small" ad infinitum. It firstly wasn't true, and secondly was incredibly unnerving and tedious to have to defend myself against her pathetic projections.
Then I spent most of the next few years pregnant or breastfeeding and didn't see her (we only really saw them after work for drinks) and then she told my other friend "saccro dropped me because I'm not posh enough." So annoying and unfair!

Tanith Mon 10-Dec-12 08:46:19

If this is in the school playground, then I'm not surprised. There are indeed some very superficial people at the school gate. I have had lots of fun with them over the years wink

I think they are usually insecure in themselves. Perhaps they are afraid that association with the likes of you and I will rub off on them smile

I have found that most truly well off people, those who are comfortable in their position, wouldn't dream of behaving like this: they are genuinely friendly without patronising.
Mind you, you don't often find them at the local school gate!

Don't mind the superficial ones, chat to who you get on with, and thank the Lord you don't have to bother about status smile

PessimisticMissPiggy Mon 10-Dec-12 08:51:15

I find this in shops and at make up counters! I'm not loaded but if I'm looking it at I can generally afford it.

I was looking for an evening gown in a very nice shop recently and after 10mins of not being approached (and whispered about) I left. I did cut my nose off to spite my face but I wasn't buying if my money was no good. I wore an older one and updated it with new accessories.

GrendelsMum Mon 10-Dec-12 08:56:20

There are some people where it's a blessing if they decide you're not worth talking to. DH and I appear to have a lot of the trappings of a certain social status, which I then discovered means that horrendous bores tell you at length about how fabulous they are and how fabulous their life is. Really, really dull. Seriously, I have nearly started threads in the past about how awful it is to have these snobs telling you about their possessions.

There was this one guy who told us for about 40 mins at a Christmas party about why he needed a big car, why his job was very important, how his holiday home was amazing and very high status, etc etc yawn yawn yawn. DH was far too polite to make an excuse and escape. We guessed afterwards that he was feeling embarassed because our house is 'better' than his (and he knew our house and we didn't know his), we are 'better' connected, and DH has a 'better' job (and we may have a crappy car but it manages to drive through snow and mud just as well as his Landrover).

FellatioNelson Mon 10-Dec-12 09:02:25

I think it is human nature to gravitate towards people who look/behave most obviously like you, and to whom you feel a natural, comfortable affinity with firstly, and secondly to make tentative steps towards people you aspire to be like. (this doesn't have to be about financial/social status, but it often is.)

I am sure that the same would be true in reverse as well; if one school gate mum appeared to be a 'posh,' well spoken, slightly serious professional in an expensive car and a sharp suit then she is probably not going to be inundated with invitations for coffee from the core group of SAHMs from the council estate. The difference is, she probably doesn't notice or care, because she is not looking for signs of validation from them in the first place.

I always made friendly conversation with all the mums of my DCs friends, even if I knew deep down they were not really the type I would usually be good friends with. In one place I lived I was definitely one of the most high income mums at school, and several of my DC's friends were definitely among the lowest. I got on great with their mums; some of them I became very fond of and we would spend ages gassing and having coffee if I had to go there to pick up a DC, or if they came to mine. But I was aware that there were differences in our lifestyles that made it unlikely that we would be good friends much beyond that. Would I have invited them for dinner? No. It's nothing personal - it's just the way things are. And frankly, they would probably have been horrified if I had.

If you don't live in a total bubble of either privilege or disadvantage then you will need to mix with people from all backgrounds, especially if your DCs are at state school. So if people came to my house and always said 'Oooh, it's so big!' or 'Oooh your DH does that for a living?!' or 'Oooh you are so much posher than me' or 'Ooh, how do you manage to have such a fabulous holiday when I can't afford a caravan in Clacton?' then it becomes a bit awkward after a while to just have normal, relaxed conversation without the wild difference in our incomes always being the elephant in the room. I got scared to say anything about my life for fear of making other people feel bad about theirs, and relaxed friendships can rarely work like that.

People often perceive it as a rejection of them based purely on their status but in reality it's much more complicated than that.

I don't think I would ever seek to attract or reject a potential friend based purely on how much money they had, or how beautiful they were though. I have known people like that and they are arseholes.

HolofernesesHead Mon 10-Dec-12 09:05:35

Pessimistic, I know! I once spent a good half an hour being studiously ignored in an upmarket shop because I'd just come from working and looked a bit scruffy. I was probably bad for business! smile

FellatioNelson Mon 10-Dec-12 09:09:08

haha - just read the thread and I can totally agree with what worcester and sacro said. I have experienced things like like that many times. It does get a bit wearing.

BaresarkBunny Mon 10-Dec-12 09:11:19

Dh is in the army and when we were applying for a house when we were moving we weren't allowed to move into the newer ones I was told we couldn't because due to my husband's rank we wouldn't be able to afford it.

I was shock that someone said this to my face because they have no idea of our financial situation. For one he is paid more than some people of a rank higher due to his pay grade and two I work and earned more than him. (a wife who works seems to be unknown to some people in the army)

HolofernesesHead Mon 10-Dec-12 09:12:06

Tbh Fellatio, I was that 'posh', well spoken mum at the council estate preschool gate, working odd hours, somewhat over-educated, highly idealistic, poor as a church mouse (due to high idealism), one decent suit and lots of nice scarves to hide the fact i was wearing it most days. So I didn't really fit any of those categories. Which is where social stratification falls down; yes, if everyone's happy to stay within their 'tribes', that's okay as far as it goes, but what about the oddments left over (like me)?

FellatioNelson Mon 10-Dec-12 09:12:44

bringback what you say is interesting and I wonder whether those people really did judge you, or whether you just felt judged. In my experience if you put a bunch of posh people round the table with someone very working class they would absolutely NOT mention the accent, or make them the object of ridicule or curiosity (at least to their face) but if you put a posh person around a table with a bunch of salt of the earth working class types they would get eaten alive and be expected to take it on the chin and be a jolly good sport about it.

LaCiccolina Mon 10-Dec-12 09:13:12

Well here's a reverse one for u, we live in rented presently. It's a massive house. But because its not been done up much or have double glazing etc its well under budget locally of where it should be. This luckily means its in our budget though. We've never had a big house and just got swept away with the sheer "why not? We will never own this! " of it.

Dd had her birthday in October. All friends know we rent. They all know why etc too. One half of one pair got really snippy at one point of how their whole flat would fit in one or two rooms. It went further than that too, made it extremely uncomfortable. We've known each other for nearly 5 yrs but as we meet out at groups it's only birthdays where houses are shown really. I've barely seen them since and it's been said its because the house made them uncomfortable! Well one half anyway...

I don't own it! They saw previous tiny house we did own. So, shallowness and (is this inverted?) snobbery exists in all. Sadly....

exoticfruits Mon 10-Dec-12 09:18:25

The real answer is that you have to know people and not judge by what you think you see. If people are too shallow to do that then they are not really the type you want to bother with in the first place.

Sugarbeach Mon 10-Dec-12 09:21:07

Holo. like you, I don't fit into any tribe! I was the only ethic minority in my village, apart from the shop owner, i hold down a professional job in a male dominated industry, i speak with a posh accent - i think i freak some people out when they first hear me speak english because i don 't sound like how i look! i wouldn 't be surprised if some people thought that i 'married up' from the philippines or something on first impressions. Over the years, I've learnt to accept that it'll be difficult to find like minded people easily and that I'll always be an 'outcast' wherever I go. But I've made a few, not many, but a few really good life long friends and I think that's enough for me...

fruitstick Mon 10-Dec-12 09:21:14

But it's a short hand isn't it. On the school playground it's very difficult to know whether you like someone or not so you make snap judgements.

When I first moved to an area toddler groups used to terrify me. I did choose the people I approached based on their handbag blush because I had nothing else to go on (I opted for the mid-price oversized non-changing bag).

It's the same with school now. Practically ALL my friends wear Parkas. I'm not friends with them because of that.

I tend to avoid the very groomed ones - apart from the ones I have met properly who are lovely confused.

What I'm trying to say that I hate all this playground cliquey/blanking nonsense. It's not a party, or a dating agency, or a networking function. People are just taking their kids to school and might have a bit of a chat with some people while they're doing it.

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