Open Thread

by Daniel Post Senning on May 7, 2013

Welcome to the Etiquette Daily

This open thread is your space to use as you like. We invite you to discuss current and traditional etiquette. Feel free to ask questions of each other and the community moderators here.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Olimpia May 7, 2013 at 7:51 pm

Is it polite to comment on a house’s tidiness and cleanliness as you’re coming in? Such as “Wow your house is so tidy this time around!”, or “This toy room is messy!” An acquaintance of mine always has something to say about how tidy or clean my house is or is not. It bothers me because my home is very old and small and although it does need a face lift, we make sure it is clean especially when living with our two toddler girls and a cat!
One time this gal came to pick up her daughters after having asked me to baby sit for her and started to wash dishes (I don’t have a dishwasher) and asked me to clean the floors and rug while she washed dishes. I CLEAN MY HOUSE, I use natural-environmentally friendly cleaning products, sanitize the floors with a steam mop, vacuum if not every day, every other day, etc.
I guess I’m resentful because my house was clean enough for her little girls to stay and play with mine when she needed them to, but not clean or tidy enough for her to look at?
I want to know what the “proper” etiquette is regarding this type of comments and behavior.

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Alicia May 7, 2013 at 10:33 pm

Of course it is not polite. It would decrease the frequency that she and her kids are invited to my place if she did so. Say no to the babysitting requests when she makes them citing that you are uncomfortable having her kids over as she is clearly uncomfortable about the state of your house and see how fast she changes her tune.

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Jody May 8, 2013 at 9:23 am

I agree with Alicia — it was rude of the other person to make those comments. You would have been well within your rights to tell her to stop washing the dishes — politely at first (“I prefer to do them myself as I have my own way of doing them”) and more firmly if she didn’t stop. Definitely sounds like the babysitting shouldn’t continue.

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Cyra May 8, 2013 at 11:45 am

Alicia and Jody are right on! I also noticed that you refer to her as an “acquaintance” and not “friend.” If she is simply taking advantage of your generosity and then insulting you about it, you should not feel guilty at all about letting this relationship fade.

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Olimpia May 8, 2013 at 3:40 pm

Thank you all for your responses! I’ve known her for nine years, we met after we both had recently moved to this city, we did not have children then. I have tried to develop a friendship with her but I guess she is a difficult person and with a series of double standards going on. It’s OK for her to speak her mind (she says she is very positive and optimistic) but it looks more like putting on an act and comes across as fake; I tell it like it is for real, not rude just assertive, and as I establish boundaries she has told me I have a bad attitude or resources to a passive aggressive put me down. She wins friend of the year award right?
Anyway, since I have my own shortcomings to deal with and not enough energy to deal with people who are not worth it, I have usually taken the high road with her and don’t contact her until she remembers I’m around (usually a birthday party, but I doubt she’ll call me this year).
I don’t care about all the remarks or comments she has made through the years from my appearance, weight, enthusiasm, the car I drive, you name it; what pushes the limit and bothers me though is coming to my home and judging if our cleaning is up to anyone else’s standards. I’m germ-phobic and conscious about our small and old home as it is!
My husband and I were pretty sure that what she does breaks the social call etiquette protocol, but we needed reassurance!

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