Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Social etiquette - I just don't seem to ever do the right thing

(9 Posts)
Letsnotaskforthemoon Tue 22-Dec-15 16:10:14

I would appreciate hearing how other people see this. We are travelling over Christmas and DH said how about we see his uncle and aunt. We very rarely see them - like every 2-3 yrs but they are not far from our route. So I contacted aunt only because I have occasionally emailed before. Are they free on a certain day around 3 pm? She came back and said yes and - this is the killer - would we like a bite to eat to see us on our way? So I know that DH would straight away say no we do not want to put people to any trouble, but i went back and said what a kind thought and shall we bring a cake? Then I thought, they are moving a week later and I would not want to put them to any trouble so I then went back and said just that and we could bring cake and it would be really nice to see them. I then felt my email was too much to the point (I find email not a super way to communicate) and sent a further email just to reiterate that I really did not want to trouble them and we can just have tea and cake.

As we do not have their telephone number I asked if we could have it in case we had traffic problems. I then got an email back from uncle just with the telephone number.

So I never know what to do - do you say yes to food and no doubt have DH saying why have you said yes, or do you say no and risk affending people?
I think I have now done something to upset his aunt and I just hate situations like this.

I never keep out of it and just make DH deal with his family.

FredaMayor Tue 22-Dec-15 16:31:39

I think you experience anxiety and are possibly a perfectionist. If you are more highly strung than those around you it can lead to thinking yourself not doing the right thing sometimes.

Other people may have lower expectations than you do, so cut yourself some slack, I guarantee the sky won't fall in.

BeautyQueenFromMars Tue 22-Dec-15 16:43:42

I very much doubt you have upset his aunt, and if they didn't want you to have a bite to eat then they wouldn't have offered. I used to be a proper doormat and would really put myself out for others, but even then I wouldn't offer more than I was prepared to do - i.e. I would have suggested a cuppa and biscuits if I didn't want to cook, rather than offering a meal.

Do try to stop worrying, and enjoy your visit with your 'outlaws' smile

Letsnotaskforthemoon Tue 22-Dec-15 16:48:47

Thank you Freda. I certainly do get anxious about these things and will more often than not think later of a response that I would have preferred to have given.
I know this is a trivial example but I have made a mess of things in more important situations by not giving myself space to think prior to a response.

I probably have messed it up as she said "will you want a bite to eat to see you on your way" we are not talking about a three course meal, maybe just a sandwich but I can hear DH in my head having a go at me if I say yes to food. So when people offer we should accept an offer. Although you could interpret how she phrased it as not really offering.

There you go, just completely overthinking.

Letsnotaskforthemoon Tue 22-Dec-15 16:52:46

I agree Beauty however DHs parents have a long long history of thinking people should second guess what they really mean and i do not know if this aunt and uncle are like that as we very rarely see them but I think like Pavlov's dog I have been conditioned to act like a rabbit caught in car headlights. smile

LeaLeander Tue 22-Dec-15 17:02:43

I don't think you did anything wrong but if you are worried about imposing one way to avoid that is to be more specific and to invite them out.

"Hello aunt, we will be passing through YourCity on the afternoon of Dec. 23rd; would you and Uncle be available from 3-4 p.m.? We would love to take you out for a drink/tea and then will be on our way by 4:15 so as to get to destination in time for kids' bathtime."

Or whatever, you get the idea - instead of inviting yourself to someone's home, invite them OUT. Or, if you are caught unawares with the offer of a meal, have your timetable ready "A bit of cake would be lovely but we must be back on the road by 4:15 to avoid the worst of the traffic so please don't go to a great deal of trouble. We mainly just want to visit with you and Uncle for an hour or so." Then she knows what to expect and that it's not going to be an open-ended "when are they leaving?!" sort of evening.

Letsnotaskforthemoon Tue 22-Dec-15 17:02:47

Just reread my last email "emails do not come across as you intend" - i think she might have thought I meant her instead of myself.

Where is that desert island I can go and live on........

Letsnotaskforthemoon Tue 22-Dec-15 17:04:00

Thank you Lea

The bloomin husband can do it next time.

BeautyQueenFromMars Thu 24-Dec-15 17:12:44

Letsnotaskforthemoon I know EXACTLY what you mean re being in the habit of second guessing everyone and being like a rabbit caught in headlights! flowers

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now