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January 22, 2007 / missknowitall

Shut Up!

Dear Little Miss,

one time while my husband and I were having a conversation with his dad, my father-in-law quite rudely told me to shut-up.  If this ever occurs again, what is the best way to politely, but firmly, reply to him?  I will not be talked to like that and my husband readily agrees.  Thanks. 

Dear Opening Up Not Shutting Up,

The answer I would like to give you is: Wait till he tells you to shut up again and say in reply, “No, you shut up!  Oh my, did I just tell you to shut up?  I can’t believe how rude I just was.  I think that is the rudest thing anyone can say to another human being.  Please forgive me.”  But, we are adults, and I am supposed to be giving you mature, well behaved advice.  In that case I suggest you try the 3 strikes out approach.  It works as follows.

Strike 1:  Forgive and forget.  They may have been going through an unusual amount of stress that day, their medication may have been off, perhaps they just weren’t thinking.  Let it pass and give them the courtesy of thinking that they would never do something so rude twice.

Strike 2:  Educate.  If this is the second act of blatant rudeness maybe this person doesn’t know what he is doing is offensive.  Pull the person aside and calmly let them know that their behavior is hurtful and insulting.  Ask them to please stop.  Let them know that you value your relationship with them and you don’t want to see it injured by such treatment.

Strike 3:  They are OUT.  At this point you know that this person is being all-out rude to you.  You are no longer required to suffer this behavior.  If they give offense the third time you are free to inform them that you will not subject yourself to such abuse, and, until such time as they can prove a changed attitude and have apologize to your liking, that you will not be bringing yourself or your family into their presence again. 

If you don’t feel like this person deserves the three strikes method then you are welcome to use the sarcastic method I gave in the beginning. 

Good luck, and keep standing tall.

Miss Knowitall 

P.S.  Your husband is free to skip the 3 strikes and stand up for you at anytime to tell his family that he will not allow them to treat you in such a way.  And that goes for you too, if your family should ever offend him.  This is according to chivalry laws, but I’ll save those for another letter =) 



Leave a Comment
  1. Karen DeBow / Jan 22 2007 9:37 am

    excellent advice! Right on!

  2. D / Jan 22 2007 4:31 pm

    Well thought through. You’re GOOD at this!

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