Saturday, March 12, 2011

"And we had so much fun at that wine tasting ..."

I just hate it when children talk about the fun birthday party they went to over the weekend in front of children who weren't invited.

Dave and I have spent numerous hours coaching our children not to do that. Growing up is hard enough; fortunately Dave and I are on the same page here and we do this to protect other children from unnecessary hurt feelings and also to teach our children to consider others before they speak. It's not a foolproof system by any means and it becomes trickier as the kids get older. Birthday parties turn into sleepovers with pictures that turn up on Facebook.

Does this courtesy apply to adults? Or, do we assume that adults are mature enough to handle it? I don't have the answer. My inclination is to not discuss things that don't involve all present. Yet I know that not all adults feel the same. They are not trying to be Mean Girls in the same way that some of the girls at sleepovers are; I think it just does not occur to them that they may be making the others uncomfortable.

We are going to Italy this summer with the usual clan plus a few newbies. I'm excited, as I always am before these trips, and this one will be even sweeter because my last trip to the continent was cancelled.

This week I had breakfast with two friends, one whose family is going with us and one whose family is not. Two of us are involved in National Charity League and although I would have liked to talk about that, I did not as the third would have felt left out. Likewise, when the subject of Italy came up, I glossed over it and changed the subject.

Lest you think I'm declaring myself an angel here, that's not the case: I've inserted my foot in my mouth countless times. I just try to catch myself.

A year ago Dave and I went to a party. Most of the guests, ourselves included, had been to another party the night prior. I watched with horror as the couple who did not attend the first party heard all about the antics of the previous evening. How comfortable was that for them?! Heck, it was uncomfortable for me, the innocent bystander.

The social norms must be different for adults than for children. Clearly I am more sensitive to this issue than most.


Paige said...

I don't think you are more sensitive than most on this issue. I think other people fail to think before they talk. Bad form. That said, I want every detail of your trips!

Celia Fae said...

I have a couple of friends (frenemies?) who do that all of the time. I can't figure out a tactful way to tell them to stop. I think they are Insensitive but not mean spirited. Anyway, I have a hard time with it and find myself on guard waiting to change the subject when I am around them. It makes me cringe. I'm happy this doesn't just happen in insular Mormon land though.

Postcards From The Hedge said...

I don't think you're more sensitive just better brought up. I also cringe and try to change the subject. We've all been on both sides - and both are uncomfortable. So happy you brought this up - maybe we will all be more considerate...or not.

Tristan said...

I don't think you are sensitive either. I'm the same way with teaching my children to think before they speak. I try to consider others in my day to day stuff too. It still hurts even when we are adults. I think as adults we think if we are sensitive about these things then that makes us childish. It is, like Paige said, bad form.

But I can't wait to hear about your trip to Italy either!

Anonymous said...

These comments show that it is a subject worth raising awareness of. I have been on both sides and seen others on both sides as well. Some people it really bothers to not have been invited to something, while others don't seem to care. It really depends on the event somone was not invited to and people involved. Courtesy and sensitivity are key, which some people are severely lacking.