Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Rude...or Socially Inept?

So there's this woman that is in our ward/neighborhood.

I can't figure her out, and have pretty much given up, and given her a wide berth so I don't have to interact with her much. I have tried in the past to be reach out to her - but it is clear she's a different kind of cookie.

She's the woman that refuses to teach in primary because she's with her kids all week.
She's the former lawyer who won't stop reminding you that she was a former lawyer.
She's the one that only likes to be up there demonstrating, as a gospel doctrine teacher, how smart she is, or how connected she is to GAs...etc...
She's the one that doesn't talk to you, if you're not important enough when there are other more important people (in her eyes) around.
She's the one that if you're a new move-in she'll only talk to you if you are sporting the labels of material success.
She's the one that if you say hello to her in the hallways of church she ignores you.
She's the one that has announced publicly how dissatisfied she is with her husband.

So - despite all that... I try to be nice when I'm around her...I know... I'm silly.

Turns out her daughter is in my daughter's kindergarten class. Her daughter is adorable - she looks like the little "who" girl from The Grinch that Stole Christmas... the little upturned nose.

I mentioned to her - and my other friend (the one that used to be a lawyer but doesn't keep dwelling on it...) how great my daughter's teacher was - going the extra mile etc... (that I mention in this most recent post).

Her reaction was a bit shocking.

QS: Isn't that amazing? I was so touched by the teacher. She really went the extra-mile.

The Grinch Lady: So she's going to wear her glasses... why? What is that going to do?

QS: I imagine it might make my daughter feel more comfortable - accepted.

The Grinch Lady: Well, that's too bad for the good kids when the teacher spends so much time tending to the problem children.

I didn't know what to say or how to react - this was not the perspective I had. Nor was it a normal reaction I anticipated. I had related the experience with the teacher to a friend of mine who is not LDS... has polar opposite political views...and she nearly started crying along with me.

I returned home and told my hubby about this - and he is of the assumption that she is incredibly awkward... but in this case he just shook his head and mumbled something.

I had no idea that a child who needs a little time, acceptance and kindness was a problem child. I can't tell if she's thoughtless, jealous, disdainful or just plain rude.

She later talked about her son who is being teased because of his math skills. Apparently he knows math the other kids don't. She talked about how he wanted to learn more math skills - and she was having a hard time remembering the more advanced stuff and thought to herself - do you really want to continue along this line ...you'll only be mocked.

I was the listener telling her how great it is to have a son who wants to learn... she was just kind of... bleh about it.


Lord, please grant me patience.


sue-donym said...

Problem child! She said problem child?! Can I hit her, please? Maybe just throw an over ripe peach at her?

Next interaction with her... Please throw in "problem parents" somewhere in the conversation. Please, for me?

I'm so sorry. Some people...

~j. said...

Short Answer: Rude and socially inept.

More Words: As a 'former lawyer', she should have a higher-than-average grasp on, you know, words. Saying something so rude and inappropriate, not to mention completely inaccurate - that's insulting. If she holds herself to that standard (former whatever), she should behave accordingly; but maybe she is, truly, dense, socially inept. Or maybe she's just mean-spirited. I can't stand it, but there are people in our lives who are just mean. I could say, "Oh, just ignore her," but I know from experience that it's not that easy, being in the same ward, the same neighborhood, having kids the same age.

This kind of reminds me of when I was introduced to a woman who, upon shaking my hand, said, "Where do you live, and what is your calling?" Which, you know, whatever, but the tone implied: "How much money do you make, and how righteous are you?"

I know the frustration of being caught so far off guard that you're stunned into silence; inside, you're like, "Did they just say that?" but for social purposes, you don't say anything, or just smile, or whatever. I find myself now, around people (read: specific person) like this, I'm not rude, but I'm very guarded. They (she) doesn't deserve my time, and I don't deserve their (her) meanness. If they (she) says anything, I'm able to politely and briefly refute. To be honest, this process, to be able to do this, for me, has taken years.

I think I should keep typing, long comments are so awesome.

Here's a whatwhat for your girl's teacher. I LOVE HER.

ClistyB said...

I'm jealous that you know this lady, such great entertainment you have in your ward.

Queen Scarlett said...

Sue - Yes... she used the word "problem"... I was like what the...what the???? I just don't get her...and I've tried... I figure a person like this is uber-self-conscious...so I've complimented her - sincerely...tried to be funny and entertaining...but to no avail. I give up!

~J... wanna come visit and give her what's what for me? ;-) I'm totally with you... not into the shallow folk. Thank you... you get me. Perhaps she wasn't a very good lawyer... hehe - teach me what to say... it's like she's this crazy anomaly that I am always stunned to encounter....

ClistyB - wanna trade my entertainment for something dull from your ward? hehehe

La Yen said...

That tells me that this little girl is going to have to try mighty hard to win her mother's approval and affection. Which would make me go the extra mile to let her know that you think she is great the way she is.

I think she is rude. And I think that she is aware of it. And I would call her on it. "Remember that time you insinuated my child was a problem child? What exactly did you mean by it?" But that is because I am shaking with anger. And don't actually HAVE to deal with the lady...

b. said...

I would agree with rude and socially inept.

I'd call her on it to. People like that need to be reminded that it is not nice....and we're not going to take it.

Love on her kid.

Queen Scarlett said...

La Yen and b. - I was thinking that too... her kids are so quiet and... "well-mannered" in that they just sit there and do nothing. So who knows what goes on at home.

Also... maybe I am way too naive... it never occurred to me that someone would knowingly be rude... I'll have to remember to not be shocked and call her out next time... or just run the other direction.

AzĂșcar said...

I agree on the calling her out like Jen.

She's being knowingly rude.

Know what I'd do? Kill her with kindness, like, a lot. Really, kill her. If she ignores you when you say hi, turn around, touch her arm, smile and say, "I'm sorry, are you having a hard day? You didn't respond when I said hello to you. Is there anything I can do?"

Be aggressively kind. I like doing that, it completely disarms biznatchs like that. They're used to intimidating people, prove you can't be intimidated.

Stephanie said...

Nice Azucar... I like it.

I had to do that in college once... got called to be this girls' VTer...and killed her with kindness... had nearly forgotten until you suggested it. Cool.

soybeanlover said...

Wow, some great ideas here. Though, I just gotta pop up with, what would the Savior do? She is being a rude, horrid woman(and her kids will definitely need some love and unconditional acceptance). I'd still call her on it, but in a nice way.

creative-type dad said...

I agree with the comment above- this lady is loaded with entertainment value.
I would try sharing some lawyer jokes with her. Maybe that might tear a small hole through her cold heart.

Miggy said...

Oh this chick is good...she's real good.

I don't think it's socially inept, I think she's doing it on purpose. She likes being the girl who is 'above' everyone else and she likes being able to subtly {or not so subtly} put people down and know they won't call her out on it.

I say call her out. You can be kind about it and Christlike and show an increase of love and all that, but I really hate that people like that get away with stuff because no one ever calls them out on it! Even if you really nicely said "Please don't ever call my daughter a problem child. She's not a problem and I'd appreciate you not calling her such. I'm sorry you misunderstood me."

I don't know how you kept it together....

Lisa said...

Humor is my coping skill of choice. Laughing and saying "Did you just call my kid a "problem child"?! To my face? Wow, next time wait til I'm out of earshot or something. . .I mean, really. . . wow! Hit a mother when she's down--without batting an eye, even. . .yowza!" or something like that (is this thing on?! helllo? helllo?!)

a. This shows that you don't take her insult seriously because IT"S SO RIDICULOUS (but we all make mistakes) and
b. that you're giving her the benefit of the doubt (I know you, surely, didn't mean to say THAT. . .)

Queen Scarlett said...

soybeanlover - thanks for the reminder. ;-)

creative-type dad - lawyer jokes... *snort* hahaha

Miggy - The way you worded it... you're exactly right - I never thought about it that way...also, she is a giant... like at least 6' tall..and I am a midget... 5'3" (and a quarter). So... physically she would win a smack down. I can't even reach up high enough for my effective b-slap.

Lisa - I love that. I need to use your method more often. Well, when I need to on the rare occasion...

Amy said...

Wow. Just, WOW.

Humor, lawyer jokes, kindness....whatever method you choose, I agree that you need to respond to her rude and socially inept comments in SOME way. She's obviously used to treating people like garbage and expecting their good manners to prevent them from challenging her comments.

Most often, people that say such stupid things, really NEED a response that is equally as bold. It obviously is the way this person communicates. Mean spirited or just plain stupid....it is a bold, in-your-face way of communicating. A response that is not equally as bold will be lost in translation on this nitwit. Be very clear in your words and response to this woman!

Often times, you don't even have to say anything mean. Just state the obvious in a bold way. For instance, an honest, sincere, "Wow. That was rude."

Not that saying something this simple and bold is necessarily easy. Just know in the back of your mind, this woman is so rude that you really can't go wrong in being blunt and honest in your response to her!!! I'm learning to do this with the rude people in my life. And you know what? It hasn't made our interactions any MORE awkward then they were before. If anything, it has "shut up" some of the more obnoxious people because at least they are more aware that what they say DOES have an affect on people. And they know that they can't slip in their underhanded put-downs without my acknowledging them.

Loves to you and your sweet girls, Momma!

Queen Scarlett said...

Amy - I love you... BOLD...that is going to be running in my head all day today. Thank you my lovely friend.