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When people ask for my opinion to not get upset when I give it

(44 Posts)
Poohbearandfriends Thu 19-Nov-15 07:13:37

NC for this as I don't want to out myself.

AIBU. I have several incidents in the past where friends and people I have worked with have asked for my opinion on a matter only for them to turn on me when they hear it. An example from the past was where a work colleague asked me whether she should get pregnant by her physically abusive partner as he has promised not to hit her whilst she was pregnant.

I will be honest, I laughed and jokingly asked what was going to happen after she had given birth. Work colleague then went back to her friends and told them what I had said only to be met with a chorus of disapproval from the rest of the office for my reaction and an explanation that he was a lovely bloke who just got stressed from time to time. My life was made a living hell after that and I left soon after.

The latest is a friend who lives with her partner is looking to get a grant for her son for his further education. My friend was saying she should qualify for the entire amount as she is a single parent. i.e she isn't married. I pointed out that the fund is dependant on household income, i.e. how much her and her partner earns not on whether or not she is married. (She was very quick to point out that as my dp earns over a certain amount I would not qualify).

I have sat in the same room with her whilst how the system works is explained and she still thinks as she is not married then her partners wages will not be taken into account. She is now getting quite aggressive and throwing her weight around with friends who think I am in the wrong and am trying to upset her. Culminating in me not being invited to a special lunch today that I have been asked not to come to because I will just upset her by me being there.

Feeling really pissed off atm. Please tell me I am not going mad

Moohoomeltdown Thu 19-Nov-15 07:25:53

Well either it's your delivery or they are very strange...

Sometimes people just want to hear "uh-hu, yeah you're right" but seriously, he won't hit while I'm pregnant???? Wow

Tapirs Thu 19-Nov-15 07:34:58

I think it's difficult to say as a lot can depend on how it was said - tone of voice, body language etc. Do people ever say things like she doesn't suffer fools gladly or she's very straight talking about you?
If this kind of thing happened a fair bit, I'd be really scrutinising my own behaviour tbh. I might not change it, but I'd be having a hard look at it.

AnnaMarlowe Thu 19-Nov-15 07:40:20

It's not what you say, it's how you say it I'm afraid.

Arfarfanarf Thu 19-Nov-15 07:41:13

I think it is astonishing that the people in your office choose to excuse violence. That's disgusting. I hope she doesn't choose to have a baby with someone like that. It is chilling to think of a man saying have a baby, I won't hit you while you're pregnant.

re asking for opinions. I think like you. If they ask me, then they want to know, right?


It is baffling and really annoying but people don't actually always want to know what you think when they ask you what you think. Often they want you to be a mirror. Reflecting what they think.

It can be difficult to know which is which (their overall behaviour and personality type can be an indicator) and if you get it wrong, no amount of "but you ASKED me..." gets through to them.

However, the second example does not sound like she asked for your opinion. did she? you say it as though she was telling you her plans. That's not the same thing as requesting your input. Never ever give opinions on something unless you've been asked to. People don't like that.

If you're choosing to raise an issue of concern to you then you accept that it might go down like a cup of cold sick because it hasn't been asked for but when someone asks you and then sees their arse, it is very annoying.

SirChenjin Thu 19-Nov-15 07:42:31

Laughing at someone who is asking for serious advice isn't very nice, so I'm not surprised that didn't go down well. Not sure about your second example - it's hard to say, but it doesn't sound unreasonable.

Are you a "I call a spade a fucking spade, me" type person, or do you think about tone, body language, forcefulness of delivery, that type of thing?

YakTriangle Thu 19-Nov-15 07:49:38

The woman who 'won't be hit whilst she pregnant' needs someone to get through to her that she shouldn't be with a vile man who is quite happy to belt her again once the baby arrives.

And the one who doesn't understand the concept of household income sounds wilfully ignorant.

I can't see how you're in the wrong telling them both the truth but perhaps laughing while you tell them is coming across badly.

holeinmyheart Thu 19-Nov-15 07:53:12

It is definately how you say it. The delivery of a differing point of view can be aggressive or not.
Every comment about others can be softened. You can see that here on Mumsnet. I have been flamed for being blunt and had to watch my language.
I was reported once for saying that a post was being mean to her MIL. I thought she was actually looking for a fight. My comment was deleted. I was mortified.

I think you should always think very carefully about being blunt and giving others advice, even if they ask for it.
So perhaps you have been too brutal OP.

Tapirs Thu 19-Nov-15 07:56:56

Also re the second argument, did you let it drop once you'd pointed out her error or did you keep pointing it out subsequently?

fieldfare Thu 19-Nov-15 08:02:58

Sometimes people don't actually want YOUR opinion though, they just want people to agree with theirs to bolster up whatever it is they're thinking. This is why when asked that question I always ask "are you sure you actually want MY opinion?"
From what you've written your responses are not the issue but it could well be your delivery that has upset the people in question. You can be frank and kind not blunt and insensitive.

bettyberry Thu 19-Nov-15 08:03:21

OP, The grant one. Its not just you! people are like that with benefits, tax credits etc too. 'Oh we're not married so we get x,y and z'. NO, you are not married but you are living together as though you are married so you are entitled to nothing this.

AS to the first, people bury their heads in the sand. Maybe the lady told other people slightly different things and you knew by how and what she said it was a bad idea. I'd say you are pretty perceptive not a bitch but no one likes hearing bad news.

I am going against everything pps write here but I go with the tactfully blunt option not sure thats a thing! when people ask for an opinion. Everyone who knows me now knows they will get an honest answer out of me. I wont sprinkle glitter all over their turd iyswim

GingerIvy Thu 19-Nov-15 08:04:22

I have just recently cut ties with a friend that does this. Asks my opinion and then gets upset if I don't agree with her. I am tactful but I don't lie and what kind of friend lies to you anyway? I'm not talking about how does this dress look but important things.

Mehitabel6 Thu 19-Nov-15 08:07:33

If it is anything like AIBU people don't really want your opinion- they want your agreement with what they think. They then take the huff when people give an honest opinion!
Experience in RL tells me to tread very carefully, and tactfully, if anyone asks for an opinion- most especially if it is anything to do with their relationships.

MrsMolesworth Thu 19-Nov-15 08:08:27

It's your delivery. If someone asks about getting pregnant with an abusive partner, to laugh in their face and make a joke of abuse in the future is beyond belief. A more normal reaction would have been to show gentle but strong concern.

SmokeAlarmsSaveLives Thu 19-Nov-15 08:11:00

It sounds like a case of not what you say but how you say it! It is annoying when you give someone correct information and they decide that they are still right............often it's best to leave it at that point, rather than pressing the point to someone who isn't going to accept that they are wrong.

Steamedcharsiubun Thu 19-Nov-15 08:16:41

I'm direct and have been told I'm cold because I am the most practical type of person ever but I would never have laughed in the face of someone like that.

I agree many people don't want to hear your opinion though they ask for it. I say don't ask then! It is probably a mixture of both delivery and just not really wanting the truth.

goodnessgraciousgoudaoriginal Thu 19-Nov-15 08:21:32

To be frank I think you were bang out of order in the first example. Someone comes asking for advice on something as serious as that, and you laugh and basically take the piss out of her. Charming. No wonder she went so cold on you - she probably felt totally humiliated.

There's giving your honest opinion, and then there's being a dick about your honest opinion.The latter tends to be for people who justify being a dick as "calling a spade a spade". Honesty and tact aren't mutually exclusive things.

In the second example, I think you could have easily diffused the situation by simply saying "okay. I'm totally sure that it's combined household income, but all you need to do is give them a call to check what the situation is. God, isn't admin such a pain in the arse".

It's clearly something she is sensitive about and it's got her back up that she might not qualify.

kungfupannda Thu 19-Nov-15 08:28:30

With the first incident you really shouldn't have laughed - it wasn't a laughing matter at all.

The second situation is frustrating, but if someone isn't listening then all you can do is tell them once and then leave them to find to for themselves. And not say 'I told you so' afterwards. I gave some employment related advice to a family member recently. He wasn't having it, the rest of the family were convinced he was right and no amount of repeating and providing evidence would change everyone's opinion that this was a special situation in which the normal rules didn't apply.

When it was finally checked, it turned out I was right. They were all a bit sheepish but no 'oops sorry we didn't believe you.'

BoffinMum Thu 19-Nov-15 08:55:41

1. You are trying to fix everyone.
2. You sound undiplomatic.

I think it might be time to do a bit of self-development on soft skills. It's better to lead people to an understanding they have developed themselves, rather than bark information at them so they feel wrong and defensive. Even if you are right.

Jux Thu 19-Nov-15 09:32:48

I do think it should be that if someone asks then they want to know, but this is not how it is with some people. You just have to work out which people want platitudes and which want answers.

I would have said something similar to the shall-I-get-pg woman, and I would have made my reasons very very clear to my colleagues, and if necessary accused them of condoning violence against women.

Re your current situation, she knows the rules, let her get on with it. Remind her once and then leave her to it. That a whole group of people have ganged up against you is a bit childish, and very hurtful. Presumably she's planning on lieing on the form so she doesn't want her nose rubbed in her dishonesty, and her friends are more sympathetic to her position than you are.

How do you want to go on vis a vis this group of friends? I imagine that there are some who probably think the same as you, but keep their lips buttoned.

lougle Thu 19-Nov-15 10:00:58

How old are you? Do you think it's possible that you haven't learned tact yet?

THINK: Is it True, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary and Kind? If you find that it isn't, don't say it!

PaulAnkaTheDog Thu 19-Nov-15 10:23:52

I'm gobsmacked at your attitude to your work colleague. Seriously, absolutely gobsmacked.

BrideOfWankenstein Thu 19-Nov-15 10:45:19

I would've probably laughed as well if someone said something like that to me. I would've thought they were joking. It would be too unbelievable in my eyes that someone can even think about having a baby with abusive partner.

Poohbearandfriends Thu 19-Nov-15 11:27:58

I really did think the first girl was joking when she asked me. It was the reaction from others who informed me I didn't know what a nice person this girlfriend beater was and how it would be wonderful for them to have a baby to cement their relationship.

The second, was in reply to the fact that my dp earns over the threshold for the subsidy so I wouldn't get anything. Not that I was expecting anything but it was the way she said it. As she does not know how much her guy earns she doesn't think it counts.

The woman is 50.

Tapirs Thu 19-Nov-15 11:34:19

I'm not sure what her age has got to do with it?
Could it have been perceived as stealth boasting - I'm too rich for that? People can be v sensitive around levels of income and even a statement of fact can hit a raw nerve.

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