1. FL

    I have an accent and I get questions about my nationality. Unless you have been there, you might not realise how often it happens and I find it so annoying because I regard it as a VERY personal question. I would not ask foreigners the same because I find it intruding. How do I get to keep my space and not sound rude? Thanks!

  2. Ashleigh

    I think that Elizabeth’s advice from post works in this situation as well. People are naturally curious when they hear/see/whatever something that are out of the ordinary to them. I understand that answering the exact same question over and over and over can be tiring but I would not take offense to it. They are simply interested in learning more about something new and exciting. If you really don’t want to get into anything specific you could be vague and friendly – ie “Oh, just a little place across the pond. Are you from around here?”

  3. Cassandra

    I absolutely adore my fiancé’s family and very much enjoy visiting with them; however, I am a non-smoker and the entire family—my fiancé included—smokes indoors. I try not to visit as much because I am bothered not only by the smell but also by the health consequences associated with smoking. Furthermore, I worry about visiting in the future, after we are married and ready to have children. I plan to isolate myself from second-hand smoke entirely; even during the time we are trying to conceive a child. My fiancé is upset that I do not like to visit as much; however, I would not dream of asking somebody to change the way they behave in their own home. What can I do?


    • Ashleigh

      Does your fiance know exactly why you are not visiting? If you haven’t had a talk with him to let him know that you are not comfortable exposing your body to second hand smoke he might just think you are being standoffish and unfriendly towards his family. As far as future children are involved, do not in any way feel guilty or pressured to bring them around. Second hand and third hand smoke can be extremely dangerous to developing lungs (as well as “big kid” lungs).

      • Alicia

        Well your fiance is a smoker inside his own home. To be willing to visit him and unwilling to visit his family seems like there is more to the story. If you are so agaist and bothered by smoking I am shocked you even went on date 1 with a smoker let alone are engaged to one.
        I think that you need to have a talk with your Fiance about smoking and your true feelings about it. You will not be able to avoid smoking and smokers if you are engaged to a man who smokes inside the house. When you live with a smoker your house will smell like smoke. Your husband will smell like smoke. You will be exposed to smoke and smoking any future kids will be exposed to their father being a smoker. Any future kids are much more likely to have medical conditions and to become smokers themselves. I think you need to either get your fiance to quit before marriage or pregnancy enters the picture and then worry about his family or you need to rethink your rational.

        • Pam

          Cassandra may have meant that her fiance smokes indoors when he visits his family, not necessarily when he is indoors around her, at home. Either way, this is definitely something that Cassandra should discuss with her fiance. She and her fiance need to be on the same page as far as their future children, and it is better for the fiance to convey the message to his own family that smoking around the children is a big no-no and that they will be unable to visit if this request is not honored.

        • Cassandra

          First, let me start by saying that we are both still in college and are currently living at home with our respective families. Second, my fiancé and I started dating during a period of time when he had quit smoking, so I was unaware that he was a smoker. He started smoking occasionally several months into our relationship after we had become serious. I spoke with him and he knows how much I am bothered by smokers forcing their habits on non-smokers. Further, I told him not only that I would not consider having children until he has successfully quit smoking, but also that when we move in together, I will never tolerate a cigarette being lit anywhere in our home. He fully understands and plans to quit when we are ready to take the next step; however, we plan to have a long engagement, so it will be a while before that becomes an issue.
          My only issue right now is feeling uncomfortable visiting with his family. Some family members in my household smoke; however, smoking indoors would never be allowed in my home. For this reason, I prefer to spend the majority of time staying at my house. As I said before, I love his family and enjoy their company; however, the indoor smoke is unbearable.

          • My husband is very allergic to cats. I come from a cat family. My father and mother have two [overly fat] cats. He is unable to visit, or he’ll have to take Zyrtec and his inhaler (and it still doesn’t go well!).
            I explained this to them, and when we visit, it is on nice days where we can sit and visit on their wrap-around porch. Everyone is happy. Alternately, they can visit us. It works well.

            Do not sacrifice your health for someone else’s convenience. We know you don’t want to tell others what to do in their own homes, so simply don’t visit, or sit outside. And don’t let anyone guilt you into it. You are doing this for your health, so it’s not like you are going out of your way to be obnoxious. Meet his family at restaurants, or on their porch, or in parks or museums… in all of these places you may enjoy their lovely company without any coughing on your part. (And I’ve heard second hand smoke can be damaging to your eggs.)

          • Alicia

            If your fiance lives with his family it still is not visiting his family it is visiting his house. I know I am sounding harse and I do not mean to. But I think that by making it an issue of visiting his family when he lives there too and follows the behavior too is not good. It is not visiting his family you are doing it is going to his home where he lives currently following teh behavior that you expect his family to change. It seems to me that iot needs to first be about the primary person(fiance) and then and only then about the secondary people ( fiances parents). You are not talking about a twice a year visit to the in laws to be you are talking about your fiances current home.
            Quiting smoking or even changing a habit to say always smoking outside on the porch is a really hard habit to break. If this really bothers you I would not move in together or move forward without getting him to break the habit before you move ahead. Otherwise you will find yourself living in an apartment where your fiance smokes inside. Particulaly given a trend of more smoking in his life not less. Until he has at least changed his habit to smoke outside there is no reason his parents should even vaguely consider your request to change their habits.
            That said seeing him and his family outside the house seems your best bet.
            Some thought about what you are willing to insist on and then a discussion with him seems in order but please do not try and hold his family to a higher standard then you are holding your Fiance to.

      • Cassandra

        Thanks for your response. He does know how I feel about exposing myself to second and third hand smoke; however, I think it may be time to sit down and have more of a formal discussion.

  4. Sheila

    My step-daughter want’s to have a destination baby shower (she lives in Virginia, and the rest of our family lives in Chicago). Michelle called me and asked me to help pay for the shower with her mother, but unfortunately, we just can’t right now, but I can make a dish, or the cake etc., but she wants cash. Also, on the invitations she’s informed me that she plans on asking for just gift cards only, so she doesn’t have to transport the gifts in the plane. What does everyone think?

    • I do not like this for many, many reasons.
      Showers are thrown because the giver WANTS to throw a shower. Showers are not thrown because the person-of-honor demands it.
      You say you are unable to pay for it. The reason (be it job loss, high mortgage, medicals bills) is unimportant. No one should force you to give money you are uncomfortable giving. Remember, you’ll be buying Baby a gift (or two!) soon.
      Gift cards only? Why doesn’t she just say she doesn’t want anyone to show up, and just mail her cash? How uncomfortable for the guests, who now know what everyone else spent on gifts. Also, this gives the guests no choice in what they may want to provide for Baby. I’m not saying gift cards are bad; rather, just that limiting the givers to the exact type of gift they are allowed to give is unfair.

      This doesn’t seem like a good natured baby shower. This looks like a gift-grab, and you don’t sound like the sort of person who wants to be party to it. My suggestion to you, Sheila, is to let her know that you are unable to financially help with the shower, but you look forward to sending along a nice gift for Baby, and perhaps a dish or cake (as you said).

  5. Other Laura

    I think that your step-daughter feels VERY entitled to getting a bunch of money just because she’s pregnant. Showers are supposed to be parties thrown by people who WANT to throw them for the mother-to-be, and if someone wants to buy a gift for mom and/or baby, they should be able to choose what to buy. To ask for cash or gift cards only is in poor taste for a multitude of reasons. I have heard from more than one expectant mother lately, “I NEED a baby shower or I’m not going to have ANYTHING for the baby!” Ummm… if you can’t provide for your child without a bunch of money and/or gifts from your friends and family, then maybe you shouldn’t be having a baby… My two cents.

    Anyway Sheila, back to your question. I agree with Laura above that you should reiterate to Michelle that you are very happy to make a dish or the cake for the baby shower, but that you are financially unable to contribute cash. Perhaps your husband (her father) could tell her this as well, as she may be more accepting of it (and perhaps less pushy) if the information comes from him. Good luck!

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