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tactics to stall a boastful mother

(11 Posts)
tigermoth Sun 31-Jul-05 15:59:27

We are having a couple to stay with us in september. I don't know the woman very well. She is by all accounts a good egg, and I know she had many fine points. She is also boastful about her (grown up) children and neices and nephews, and is also quite opinionated generally. Without going into detail, I don't agree with some of her opinions. I have seen enough of her behavour in action to feel apprehensive. I know if I mention any minor achievement of my sons, dh or I, she will have top it.

Any tips on how I can stay on friendly terms with her over a four-day stay? Me leaving her alone to do her own thing is not an option.

happymerryberries Sun 31-Jul-05 16:04:38

I liked (but have never used) Erma Bombeck's line, 'I understand that very high intelegence in the child is often associated in venerial disease in the mother'.

snafu Sun 31-Jul-05 16:07:22

rofl hmb!

Ummm, not got much useful advice except just try not to take it too seriously, I guess.

I was going to jokily suggest trying to sneakily play a game of 'onedownmanship' - if she says something boastful about her offspring, you could casually mention something appalling that yours have done recently - but that might not be too much fun for 4 days solid

Janh Sun 31-Jul-05 16:35:25

I have a friend like this and she will always cap a story, whether good or bad, so snafu's suggestion doesn't work with her either

I never initiate conversations about kids' achievements if I can help it, and if she does I tend to just smile, go "mm", and change the subject - any help, tm?

Carla Sun 31-Jul-05 16:48:32

Sorry, being nosey ... but why do you have to have her?

I've had this sort of thing before, from my best friend's dh, and it drove me insane .......

Needless to say, I made certain they didn't go to the same school. Now he's a bit quieter

Prufrock Sun 31-Jul-05 16:58:55

If she is boastful about her kids acheivemenst, is this because she feels she has none of her own to be boastful about? (Although of course kids are an acheivement in their own right)Boastfullness is often a sign of actually being quite unconfident. So, depending on how much she is getting on your nerves, you can be cruel, and every time she starts about her kids ask her pointed questions about herself, and top her tales with things that you have done (And I'm sure you'd be able to do that in a non boastful way)

To strong opinions (having just had a weekend with my MIL), I always find a non committal "Hmm, it's interesting that you think that" (said in a tone that makes it clear that it's not at all interesting) works very well.

tigermoth Sun 31-Jul-05 18:10:20

I think I'll be doing lots of non committal 'mmmm'-ing and diverting her away from certain subjects. Doesn't make for a very relaxing time, though! I mean, part of the process of getting to know someone is the swapping of information and history.

Prufrock, I do think self confidence could be at the bottom of this, but she holds a senior position in her field of work (social work), is a pillar of the local community etc etc so she has achieved a lot in her life.

I do want to be friendly with her. I am sure she is a very nice person, as other people have said this and I have had some good convresations with her. I just don't know to cope with her boastful side. It makes me instinctively clam up, which in turn makes me look very cool and unfriendly.

tigermoth Sun 31-Jul-05 18:11:25

snafu, considering her line of work, I can't goive her too many horror stories about my children!

spidermama Sun 31-Jul-05 18:21:10

I know exactly the type you mean. My own MIL is a little like this. Also, every time I compliment my dh on, say, his cooking skills, she takes the credit. 'Oh, that's because I always took the trouble to help them learn to cook ect etc...'

I know it's infuriating, but the way I see it she's enthusiastic about things and trying to share the enthusiasm.

It couls be worse. Our MILs could spend their time moaning and bitching about people!

Twiglett Sun 31-Jul-05 18:36:05

just smile sweetly say 'oh that's nice' then carry on a normal conversation

tigermoth Mon 01-Aug-05 11:09:56

thanks all - I might not be around to reply for a few days. I think if I concentrate hard on seeing it as 'enthusiasm' for her family, it will definitely help.

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