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Thread: I offended my aunt with my thank you card

  1. #1

    Default I offended my aunt with my thank you card

    I have yet thank you cards to send out for our wedding presents we got and I have half of it done. I sent a thank you card to my aunt and uncle and I forgot to include my cousin
    Well I got a letter in the mail from my aunt saying how disappointed she is in me and hurt for reading how I was shocked when I recieved her wedding present and me saying to my family they may be cheap but they aren't cheap enough to not get us a wedding present.

    My aunt and uncle did not come out to family reunions that were out of Wisconsin and they did not come to my cousin's wedding in 2005 and my dad said it's because they're cheap. So I was surprised when I got a wedding gift from them so it was a compliment that they aren't cheap enough to not get us one, even though they couldn't come out to see us get married. I still don't understand how that compliment was hurtful to her or is she just over reacting?

    Now I am hoping I didn't say any other hurtful things in my thank you cards when I sent them off thanking them for their money they gave us or gift card or gifts. I think I will have my husband help me when I make the next ones out so he can tell me what not to say so I won't say anything hurtful on accident.

    My aunt even had the impression that I said it to make everyone laugh but I did not say it to make people laugh. I can't control what people find funny when I am not trying to be funny. I make people laugh unintentionally. So I wrote her an apology letter and said I was sorry my compliment was hurtful to her and then I tell her my side of the story and I told her I did not say it to make people laugh and I didn't know why they laughed when I said it. My husband said it was because my dad was caught saying a rude thing to me but I don't see how that was rude. Is being cheap a bad thing? I mean traveling is expensive, some people can't afford it, I have not been out to Wisconsin in ten years because I am also cheap. So I like spend an whole hour writing the letter and making sure I didn't say anything hurtful in it and hope I didn't so I wrote I hope I didn't say anything hurtful again in this letter.

    Now I feel bad that a compliment hurt her and wish I kept it to myself than telling her about it in my thank you card. If I knew it was going to hurt her and she would take it the wrong way, I wouldn't have said it to her. I also apologized for forgetting to include my cousin. I hope I didn't make that same mistake with the others. I felt better after I wrote the apology letter and put it in the sent box for the mail man to take. I would have called her instead if I knew her number but because I don't, I wrote back to her instead to apologize. I hope I didn't hurt my uncle and cousin too. But I do agree in her letter that sending me a book on manners and proper etiquette would be more suitable as a wedding present than cookbooks and pot holders and spices.


    So how is this compliment hurtful, "You may be cheap but you weren't cheap enough to not get us a wedding present" or was my aunt just over reacting? I mean everyone in my family laughed and so did my husband and my aunt is the only one hurt by it. I probably didn't have to write that apology letter but I did because I'm nice and I felt bad she didn't take the compliment well. I always feel bad when I accidently hurt someone, even if I think they are being dramatic or too sensitive. I still apologize for it just to help myself feel better and I think it's the polite thing to do.

  2. #2

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    LOL You straight up called your Aunt "cheap." I don't think the standard thank you card memorandum is suppose to include the word cheap. I can see how she found offense in that, being that calling someone "cheap" isn't a compliment... What you wrote to her was like a backhanded compliment. You shouldn't have said "You may be cheap."

  3. #3

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    While it might be possible to squeeze a compliment out of a sentence that starts "You may be cheap but..." it's not for beginners. Calling someone cheap is an insult most any way you slice it. If you want to be complimentary in that area, you can refer to a person as thrifty or knowing the value of money, however that's very rarely appropriate when someone has given you a gift. You want to acknowledge their generosity and thoughtfulness at why the gift was appropriate or emotionally significant coming from them to you. Money should not come into the picture.

    From your post, I understand the point you were trying to make, but you unknowingly made a rude comment to someone going out of their way to be nice to you. I hope your family will give you better advice in the future as to what's appropriate when you're trying to be polite.

  4. #4

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    Yeah, that is definately an insult. If someone I wasn't very familiar with said that to me, I would take offense. I can't see how you didn't see that, perhaps that's why you make people laugh unintentionally?

  5. #5

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    I have difficulty in that area. I say things I hear from people or things that have been said to me. My dad has said to me they are cheap and my mom has called me cheap and I wasn't offended. She has called herself cheap too. I guess they need to be more careful what they say to me because I could end up saying it to other people or they need to tell me that must not be said to other people and tell me why. I don't always know if something is going to offend someone. I can only learn from experiance. I don't learn if people don't tell me why something is wrong or else I just think they are being a drama queen and they need to lighten up.

    That's another reason why it takes so long for me to write replies because I am making sure people won't take things I say the wrong way or get offended what I say but it appears some people still do take things the wrong way I say because they put words in my mouth but in real life there is never no time to stop and think because there is no pause button or forums I am posting on so I am saying what's on my mind. Luckily I make people laugh than seeing people walking off all pissed and lot of people seemed to like my honesty.

    So I work hard to not offend people. If something isn't offensive for me, I do not understand how it can be offensive for others. I've been called cheap by my mother and I was not offended so I did not know others would be offended by that word if I called them it.

  6. #6

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    I wouldn't call anyone 'cheap' in a thank-you card... it's the same as calling someone stingy, or miserly.

    If your apology is sincere, however, I don't see why she should hold it against you.

  7. #7

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    Wow... Just wow... I feel SO bad for you, to have to go through that... I know how it is to accidentally offend someone, and upon reading this, I feel your pain... And calling someone 'cheap', is kinda the same as calling 'em "penny-pinching", and generally considered an insult. I hate to say it, but you just dug yourself a grave, even though you had good intentions... I hate when that happens...

  8. #8

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    Do I remember correctly that you have AS? Please correct me if I'm wrong.
    It's just this is an absolute classic scenario for someone with AS. They use the word in a literal term only trying to be kind, without realising that is has an alternative meaning that may be likely to offend someone.

    I understand why you are upset because nobody wants to accidentally offend someone when you didn't mean to. Hopefully if you explain to her that you didn't realise the meaning of the word and in hindsight you wouldn't have said it then she'll understand.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Calico View Post
    So how is this compliment hurtful, "You may be cheap but you weren't cheap enough to not get us a wedding present" or was my aunt just over reacting?
    Wow.

    That is what we call a bitch-slap to the face. Or, if you prefer, a "backhanded complement."

    Basically what has happened is that YOU have set the terms for a GIFT. This is piggish, self-indulgent, rude, and you really ought to detest yourself for a bit.

    It doesn't matter if SHE has called herself cheap, either. I'd like to use the example of blacks in this country using a name to greet each other, but am worried that someone will get their panties in a twist. That example stands, however. Likewise, faculty call themselves Jim and Bob and Doug and Fred. This doesn't give an 18-year old student the same license.



    Quote Originally Posted by Calico View Post
    If something isn't offensive for me, I do not understand how it can be offensive for others. I've been called cheap by my mother and I was not offended so I did not know others would be offended by that word if I called them it.
    Maturation brings with it an ability to look outside yourself and see things from other perspectives. You're not fully cooked yet; this is why you don't have this understanding in place.

    Either way, you owe her an apology.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Calico View Post
    So I work hard to not offend people. If something isn't offensive for me, I do not understand how it can be offensive for others. I've been called cheap by my mother and I was not offended so I did not know others would be offended by that word if I called them it.
    Not having heard the conversation, I can't say offhand whether or not your mother was being rude to call you cheap, but it's really a different thing to say something perhaps casually or with sarcasm in conversation and to write it out in a formal way, which is what a thank you note is. All of these things are not absolute rules, they vary by social levels, family levels, levels of intimacy, phrasing, and context. In other words, it can be complex, but it's an internal set of measurements that we're expected to have developed. In my experience,

    I can't see making that mistake past age ten or so. Social standards seem to have slipped since I was a kid, so let's say twelve. I'm not saying that to make you feel dumb, just to give you some context as to how fundamental that kind of thing is. At least now you know: a response to a gift is not the time to mention money (how much someone has, how much it might have cost, did cost, etc.). One social lesson down, thousands to go.

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