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to hate it when people make offers they don't really mean, and try to guilt trip you when you accept?

(27 Posts)
AlarmOnSnooze Mon 10-Mar-14 10:58:16

This morning, dh offered to help out with the general Monday morning chaos. He is never around for school runs usually, and I am up against a tight deadline for coursework.

conversation goes:

dh: if it helps, I can take the girls this morning, and let you get on with some work

me: hmm, thanks (suspecting the offer wouldn't be all it seems), but it's ok.

dh: no, really, if it would help then I can.

me: oh right. great. If you could take dd1 (goes to school out of county) then that would give me an extra hour or so which would be really useful.

dh: oh, umm. I didn't mean that. I meant more if you want to leave ds (19 months) here with me, then it'd make your life easier

me: confused, I thought you said you could take the girls?

dh: well, I've got stuff to do too, so it''d be better if I could stay and ds stays with me

me: <gives up> yep, fine, but it's easier if you don't offer things you don't want to do. I don't find that particularly helpful. Leaving ds with you doesn't make much difference to my morning.

dh goes off in a huff. I am even more confused.

WooWooOwl Mon 10-Mar-14 11:06:21


Even worse when people play this little game and then use it to their advantage in conversations later with things like 'but I have tried to offer help!'

ISeeYouShiverWithAntici Mon 10-Mar-14 11:23:09

Oh I hate this.

I think they want to appear like a great person without actually doing anything.

Ridiculous man to huff off. Don't let him make you the bad guy here. He offered a particular thing, that was his choice. The fact that you didn't play out the little script he had running in his head is not your fault.

oh darling, how KIND of you, you wonderful human being, no don't trouble yourself, I'll do it but what a SAINT you are to offer...

Either mean it, or don't offer, ffs.

Almost as annoying are the people who do / don't want to do something but won't say so! Expecting you to be a mind reader and huffing when you aren't grin

AlarmOnSnooze Mon 10-Mar-14 11:28:17

oh yes. that is what annoyed me with dh this morning. if I had stuck to refusing his offer of help (due to previous experience where it turns out like this morning!) then he would bring that up if I mention I need help with lots of 'I always offer, but you never take me up on it'.

I have just had an equally irritating conversation with my dentist too. I need some emergency work done, and spoke to dentist over the weekend. I was assured I would be called back first thing this morning with an appt time.

I wasn't, so called to see what was going on. dentist is now full, and no appts available. I explained the situation and said I had been told yeasterday there would be an appt. receptionist is a bit huffy, and finds me an appt with another dentist. I accept, btu point out not ideal since this is ongoing work proving tricky already, and having my regular dentist woudl be better.

a little while later receptionist calls back, and says she has spoken to my dentist who apologises for the mix up, and can squeeze me in if I would prefer.

me: oh that would be great. much easier all round. but only if it doesn't cause any great difficulties - I'm sure my dentist could always brief new dentist if necessary

receptionist: well, if you would prefer to use regular dentist, it's fine.

me: lovely, that's great. thanks a lot.

receptionist: well, regular dentist is working through her lunch break to see you, so if you could see new dentist....?

me: oh. well, if it's much easier I could. I jsut need the work done. ummm, '

receptionist: no no, if you prefer to see regular dentist that's ok. just that she is working through her lunch break to manage this

me: well, only if it's ok <thinking hang on, you called me to make htis offer! I'd already accepted an appt and was happy with that>

I mean, honestly - why make the offer if you don't mean it?! and don't try to get me to reject the offer by making me feel guilty for accepting it!

ISeeYouShiverWithAntici Mon 10-Mar-14 11:33:16

Oh don't let yourself get sucked into that!

Just keep saying "That is what you offered." and maybe follow up with "Did you not mean it then?"

People should be challenged when they make offers they don't mean!

(this is mainly because it drives me up the wall and I think the whole world should do things the way that is best for my blood pressure grin )

AlarmOnSnooze Mon 10-Mar-14 11:36:35

dont worry, I'm expert at sticking my ground grin

but yes, I seethe internally, thinking 'wtf make the offer if you don't mean it' and it does wind me up when they try to guilt me into rejecting an unsolicited offer.

AlarmOnSnooze Mon 10-Mar-14 11:37:39

oh, and appt is with my regular dentist - I didn't make her give up her lunch break (although there's a lot of money involved given the state of my teeth, so it'll be worth her while!)

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Mon 10-Mar-14 11:40:15

I think you're being too nice. With the dentist one I would have just said, "Great - much better to see normal dentist, what time is the appt?" no time for discussion or indecision. With DH I would have just said "Thanks, if you take the girls and I can cracking at 8am." By being a bit wishy-washy you are letting people back out of what you've agreed.

AlarmOnSnooze Mon 10-Mar-14 12:00:30

I did just say yes to dh (once he protested his offer was genuine hmm), and he just completely backtracked! (didn't save him from havign to do the school run though - after all, he offered grin)

I felt a bit guilty with the dentist, as they got soem of my pent-up ire following dh dicking around. but not guilty enough to not accept the appt with my regular dentist grin

the whole thing jsut frustrates me, though. don't make the offer if you don't actually mean it.

FelineLou Mon 10-Mar-14 12:01:09

Your answers are vague. If you want it, accept with a thanks. To break DHs habit then offer minor quid pro as Thanks then I'll sew that button on your jacket tonight, or get a card for your Mum at lunch or whatever. He just expects an answer which allows him to dodge the offer he made. Avoid that and be definite.

AlarmOnSnooze Mon 10-Mar-14 12:09:55

I accept I was vague with the dentist, as I was feeling guilty for being short and huffy with them when they couldn't arrange what had originally been promised to me over the weekend.

But I was straight and to the point with dh.

I said no originally, as it is easier (usually) to avoid the argument, especially first thing on a MOnday morning. he inisisted he wanted to hlep, so I said yes. take the girls. and he backtracked.

I couldn't have been more direct, except to skip the first refusal. but I said what help would benefit me, and I explained why his (changed) offer would not help (ie it woudl still be me doing all the actual work!). he just didn't mean it in the first place, and was taken aback when I actually accepted.

KatnipEvergreen Mon 10-Mar-14 12:13:57


Also it took me years to work out that there is a peculiarly middle class way of offering something when it isn't a real offer, and you are meant to decline the help/food/drink/whatever.

LookingThroughTheFog Mon 10-Mar-14 12:21:49

It reminds me of our constant mantra to our daughter - if you say you want to help, then you need to do the thing you're being asked to do, rather than choosing something else and hoping it might be helpful.

She's 6. I'm hoping she has a better understanding of what helping is by the time she reaches your husband's age!

FunkyBoldRibena Mon 10-Mar-14 12:25:03

But I was straight and to the point with dh.I said no originally, as it is easier (usually) to avoid the argument, especially first thing on a MOnday morning. he inisisted he wanted to hlep, so I said yes. take the girls. and he backtracked.

Yes, you said no! So it gave him an out.

What you should have done is:

dh: if it helps, I can take the girls this morning, and let you get on with some work

you: That's fab, here's their school bags and the lunchboxes are on the side. I'll have a brew waiting for when you get back.

EurotrashGirl Mon 10-Mar-14 12:28:06

In my experience, British people do this quite a lot.

LosingItSlowly Mon 10-Mar-14 12:48:09

I feel a rant of my own coming on.

My own DH is really irritating me lately. We've unfortunately had a majorly mismatched sex drive since our toddler was born (and I'm pregnant again).

I could happily do without for a week or two, or three, and he wants to dtd every day! I've told him its fine, as long as its not every day (ie. every other day at most).

What's worse is that he seriously believes I'm secretly gagging for it (not just me, all women), and that "holding out" on sex is a deliberate tactic by women to hold power over men. This is irritating enough, but becomes even more so when he tries to 'call my bluff'.

This means when I finally drag my tired self into bed, he snuggles up to me and says something like, "Ah, we can leave it tonight if you like."

He then seems to be shocked when I take him up on his offer and say, "Ok, goodnight, love you," before rolling over to sleep. I can practically sense the stunned silence coming from his side of the bed. He'll then toss and turn purposefully a bit before bugging me that he can't sleep.

What he really means is that he wants sex, and when he finally admits it, we can get on it with it and finally get some sleep. Its the whole game-playing and pretending to offer something only to turn back when I accept. Some time soon we need to have a serious chat.

And breathe... <feels better>

KatnipEvergreen Mon 10-Mar-14 12:53:07

The annoying thing that DH does is agrees to do something then doesn't do it, or does it so late that it is no longer helpful.

Or thinks up a good idea himself, like building a new chicken run or lean-to bike store for the garden. Three years I've been waiting for those now. Which I wouldn't have even thought about at all or asking him to build them had he not suggested them in the first place.

Gileswithachainsaw Mon 10-Mar-14 12:58:29

Oh I hate that. Especially when they turn it onto the most ridiculous long winded solution just to be "helpful" except it makes life bloody harder than if you had just taken both kids with you.

My mother does this - "oh you are so far away, I wish I could help you out, if only you were nearer I'd babysit..." etc. Then when she is visiting or we visit her "could you possibly babysit for an hour?" ... "well, its a bit much, I don't thonk I can manage the toddler/ the noys..." (maybe kust the girl who is old enough and sensoble enough to look after herself!)... she doesn't have to do it, just stop moaning about how much she wants to help when she is hundreds of miles away so clearly can't be asked!

BertieBotts Mon 10-Mar-14 13:04:59

Wow, yes, that is annoying.

I thought this was going to be about the "oh you must come and stay" which means "please, never come and stay, we will make every excuse possible".

But no, this seems in a different league confused

HobbetInTheHeadlights Mon 10-Mar-14 13:12:16


I have family and friends who do this a lot.

Luckily not my DH.

I also have family - mainly DH family that do mean their offers.

It did mean for a few years I was getting upset by people back tracking and offending others by assuming their offers weren't proper offers when they were desperately keen to help us.

LookingThroughTheFog Mon 10-Mar-14 13:13:41

LosingIt, pardon me for saying, but I think you need to have a serious chat now.

Can you read your post as if it were a friend telling you about her partners demands on her? It does seem slightly beyond unreasonable to nag and guilt someone into sex when they've said they don't want it.

I've been where you are; I ended up hating him for a long time, but we had the chat and we went right back to basics and learning to trust him again, and we're a lot better now.

RobotLover68 Mon 10-Mar-14 13:15:12

and then there's the people who always say "if there's anything I can do"

you know full well that if you took them up on it they would backtrack and make excuses - they seem to think the offer gives them brownie points hmm

fairylightsintheloft Mon 10-Mar-14 13:22:53

annoying yes but I am in that situation with a friend. Her and her DH rarely get out together and I have offered often to babysit but whenever they ask me, I can't do it as I have something else on. I have tried to explain that our weekends get full up well in advance and she just needs to give me more notice but it usually only in the week before that she asks. Hate saying no when I have offered but it never seems to work out date-wise.

Hoppinggreen Mon 10-Mar-14 13:33:06

My husband loudly announces that he he going to so something such as mow the lawn when it's really not a good time to do it - it's too wet or I need him to help with something else.
Then I get " I wanted to mow the lawn but you wouldn't let me" even though I know bloody well he didn't want to but by doing this he can shift all responsibility for the non mown lawn onto me.
Now I'm wise to it I only answer a direct question.
" I was going to mow the lawn"
" I'm wondering if it's too wet"
"Hmmm, are you?"
Several minutes silence
" so is it too wet?"
" up to you DH, it's totally your choice"
This also works with people who are trying to make you feel guilty.
" the dentist is working through their lunch break to see you"

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