or is my niece rude?

(65 Posts)
Klingyston Tue 14-May-13 07:55:40

Strictly speaking husband's niece. Came to stay at weekend. Age 19, at university. Sniffed a lot and refused a tissue when I offered her one - then said it was because of the house dust! Brought 1 pot of taramasalata and seemed to think she had contributed majorly to the household economy. Kept talking about the fact she was sleeping with her boyfriend and how he was pissed and threwup all night in front of my children. Wanted me to do her washing - just pointed her to the machine. Seemed to expect cups of tea put in front of her. Quite good with the children otherwise. Said she had no interest in elections and who ran the country - after years at an expensive public school - quite worrying.
or is it me?

mooface Tue 14-May-13 20:41:52

I'll add - it is annoying when you feel like people aren't making an active effort to be considerate of what they say/do, especially as you must do so all the time as a mum. A lot of 19 year olds are tactless (I was myself, I cringe at how I used to be). She'll grow out of it smile

mooface Tue 14-May-13 20:39:18

Lol sounds like some of my coworkers. Annoying as hell. Just point her the right way, at least you can't get in trouble for doing so at home.

Still18atheart Tue 14-May-13 18:52:35

Would like to add at 19 I was dating a politics student still had no interest in politics. I also went to a private school. It's just a phase which once she gets out of the bubble called uni and into the real world she'kll grow out of it.

Klingyston Tue 14-May-13 18:32:08

Thanks for all the replies. I think she and I are both being a bit unreasonable. As to the taramasalata - I don't expect her to contribute but she just made a big deal of bringing it, kept mentioning it. Schools - I would expect if I had paid for an expensive education that the children would have a rounded education, including at least a passing interest in politics

giraffacake Tue 14-May-13 16:56:17

I'm 19 and at University! YABU

I was also state schooled but I have no idea why you think education has anything to do with an interest in politics. i have friends at Uni who are from very prestigious private schools and they couldn't give a jot about politics. On the other hand, I know plenty of state school kids who love it- one of my closest "state" friends is running for Councillor.

As for the rest of your post, I can see your niece's side of the things.
The dust comment, for example, was probably a throw away comment and was not intended to be rude. I imagine she simply said "oh it's probably itching because of the dust". I doubt she was commenting on the state of the house or anything. Most 19 year olds wouldn't even notice or think about that kind of thing.

I don't know why you were expecting a financial contribution when it was only one weekend and she is family. I think it's nice that she bought you some taramasalata. How did she "behave" as if she'd contributed majorly to the household? Feels like you are imagining what she is thinking.

I also think that she was probably trying to be friendly and entertaining by telling you about her boyfriend. I agree that it was probably inappropriate for the children to here but this was probably due to ignorance rather than deliberate rudeness. Just calmly say "not in front of the kids!" or something.

As for the washing- If I stayed at someone's house I would find it presumptuous just to use the washing machine by myself. I'd at least ask about it to make sure it's okay. As someone said above, I wouldn't want to make myself at home too much- that would seem ruder!

All fairly normal stuff in my opinion. Of course, I don't know the entire situation and it's impossible to know how she was behaving from a short post. Just thought I'd offer the opposite perspective...

AgathaF Tue 14-May-13 16:33:19

Give the girl a break. So, she's not the perfect house-guest. She talks a little inappropriately in front of your kids. She commented that she was sniffing because of the dust (maybe she has rhinitis and can't help that). Seemed to expect cups of tea put in front of her - did she actually say that? Lots of teenagers don't know much about politics. Hopefully she will learn more as she gets older, but maybe she won't and will remain in good company with lots of the rest of the population who don't know much about it. Did her "expensive public school" teach politics, or do you just assume that she should know more because she attended that school?

You don't sound very welcoming, to be honest, and you also sound a little resentful of her. Sometimes when I feel awkward and unwelcome, I can act a bit of a twat from nerves, or to over-compensate. I think that applies to most people. Maybe that's what happened with her.

NigellaTufnel Tue 14-May-13 16:19:43

It is you.

She's 19. A bit gauche, a bit rude, and you don't sound very welcomIng.

Dubjackeen Tue 14-May-13 14:14:40

Wankerchief, your post made me smile-being told to be careful ironing three bags of washing, 'as it burns quick' grin.

DyeInTheEar Tue 14-May-13 14:13:55

Amazing that people assume behaviour is because of private and/ or boarding school based on one or two anecdotes.

She sounds entitled and immature. She'll grow out of it. Wouldn't tolerate drank til I was sick and am shagging BF for more than 30 seconds though.

Well, not all 19 year olds are the same, but I certainly recognise some of those things as typical as displayed by my own 19 yr old daughter and friends.

How long was she staying for? A small token gift is perfectly acceptable from a cash-strapped sudent - she was your guest presumably, I wouldn't normally expect guests to chip into the household budget. Bit unsure about the washing thing, depends how long she was with you and under what circumstances.

As a sufferer of house dust allergy myself she has my empathies and sympathies! For me, it's not so much a sniff that can be eased with a tissue, it's a constant severe itchiness at the back of the nose. Old books are the worst culprits.

I know plenty of 40 and 50 year olds who have no interest in politics. And have had blazing rows with some close relatives who are VERY interested in politics, so we've agreed that's a no-go subject.

BrianCoxandTheTempleofDOOM Tue 14-May-13 14:01:30

at 19 I'd lived away from home 6 months, lodged in a house . had no responsibility whatsoever. 19 year olds CAN be mature and responsible if their life dictates as such. If not, they've still got to learn.

Flicktheswitch Tue 14-May-13 14:01:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

hiddenhome Tue 14-May-13 13:52:58

Blimey, when I was 19 I had started my nurse training and was into my 6th year of looking after my mentally ill mother and running the house sad

I thought all 19 year old could be relied upon to be sensible, responsible and considerate.

This behaviour at 15/16 okay, but not 19 hmm

arabesque Tue 14-May-13 13:40:19

I think you're being a bit over critical. The sniffing would irritate me but I wouldn't take the comment about house dust personally. All houses have dust and if you're allergic there's nothing you can do about it.

A lot of people would think it rude to just go and make themselves a cup of tea or put on a wash in someone elses house. I don't think that behaviour was rude.

The stuff about her boyfriend was just immature and yes, a bit disrespectful to talk like that in front of your children but I would say it was more ignorance than rudeness.

I would expect a student coming to stay for the weekend to bring some kind of a small gift, which this girl did. I would not expect a contribution towards the 'household economy'.

As for the people on here saying their 19 yr olds had their own houses, were bringing up children etc well, fine, but you can't really use them as typical 19 year olds. Very unusual 19 year olds I would say.

Still18atheart Tue 14-May-13 13:32:34

That's normal 19yo behaviour. Was exactly the same, if not worse for my parents when i was home from uni. However, used to know to switch on the charm the offensive / be the perfect guest for my aunt and uncle.

UptheChimney Tue 14-May-13 13:26:51

Glad to hear that not everyone born into "greed is good" who is now a parent didn't buy into that neo-liberaal Thatcherite rubbish (I was born into the late 50s early 60s so had a very different view of these things). I despair at the way some parents model entitlement to their children, because I get to pick up the pieces when their PFBs have to cope away from home.

LadyBeagleEyes Tue 14-May-13 13:20:43

She maybe 19 but wasn't she also a guest, presumably invited by you and your DH?
Would you have expected your mum/MIL or even a friend to contribute food?
When I have guests I'd provide food and offer to do a wash as well, and bung it in with my own.
Or do your own manners change because she's a young student?

flangledoodle Tue 14-May-13 11:46:44

I think you neice sounds unsure of herself and how to behave and a little socially inept. She may be modelling how to behave in your house on how she behaves at home because that is her frame of reference when staying with grown ups. I think she is just inexperienced and not sure what you expect of her. Having said that I would not expect any houseguest staying for a weekend to contribute to food.

About the boasting about the boyfriend she again sounds immature and she is trying to impress you with how grown up and worldly she is. Poor kid, it's crap being a teenager.

BrianCoxandTheTempleofDOOM Tue 14-May-13 11:29:23

I'm also a child of the 80's and was brought up in the strictest of households.

My relation had a daughter 1993ish and I remember her (relation) saying to me, with pride, that her daughter (aged 13 ish at the time and having had an argument with an older woman on the bus after the DD wouldn't give up her seat) didn't have to show respect to anybody just because it was expected of her shock That just because somebody was older than her daughter didn't give them reason to expect her to act as if they were in need of respect.

Well no, but her healthy DD on a packed bus - well it would have been polite (and morally correct?) to offer the older woman (ie in her 70's) the seat. Relation said not, there was no reason to as the woman was capable of standing (all her DD's information of the incident). Even so, upon being asked for the seat, I would have willingly given it up - but the DD was (from her glorious recount of the tale) rude and obnoxious "I was here first".

This relation's friends/contemporaries all have teens who have shown themselves to be morally void in various ways. Actually, it is just possible that my relation is just foul and that the particular area he lives in is full of self-entitled cunts, of course.

ephemeralfairy Tue 14-May-13 11:03:32

1980s child here, I didn't behave like that when I was 19...! Someone who is 19 now would have been born in 1994 so you can blame GenX nihilism and paranoia, grunge, Prozac etc... grin

UptheChimney Tue 14-May-13 10:52:33

Gosh, when I was 19 I'd never have behaved like that staying with relatives ... I was living in a shared house, looking after myself, and co-operating with housemates. But now I teach 19 year olds, and I'm afraid that is normal entitled behaviour. Children of the 1980s "there is no society" beliefs, I'm afraid. We went very wrong then.

BrianCoxandTheTempleofDOOM Tue 14-May-13 10:51:08

I most certainly was not brought up to be a self-centred person, nor waw I allowed to treat people the way OP's niece has. Far from it. My parents were stricter than strict and my brother and I are well rounded, hard working, kind adults as a result. However, you don't become that just because your parents were good parents - the base of it is down to that, the rest is trial and error.

At 19 you have your first taste of freedom, there's a massive world out there and for some it goes to their head.

It's about learning and growing up. It isn't acceptable and when it happens, it is down to others to step in and say "oi, stop being a prick".

Of course, if the person in question continues with their self-centred ways then they are just awful people.

Theas18 Tue 14-May-13 10:48:32

Honestly my 19yr yr old is the nicest teen you could imagine (not just me thinking that either!).

If she went to stay with a relative she wouldn't expect to " contribute to the household". And vice versa any 2 night guest here might bring wine if they wanted but no " contribution to the household" (and that includes my well off in laws).

"expects cups of tea" as above- if I'm making a drink for us I make for guests- on a regular basis- it's what you do surely?

Washing? Actually I'd put washing on for a guest no hassle- easier than saying "here's the powder we use 1 scoop and the softener and use cycle 4 for most things" TBH.

DD1 sniffs a lot, she always does and it's worse here than at uni. Yes it could be the dust or pollution in the city. It's annoying but it's her...

Taking about inappropriate stuff in front of the kids DD wouldn't as we don't have small kids, but that's just a bit of social ineptitude, probably worsened by nerves/trying to seem more grown up than she is. I'd just say "little ears are listening so we'd better change the subject"

youmeatsix Tue 14-May-13 10:23:05

i cannot believe the amount of people who say "Normal 19 yea old" my 3 are now 18, 19 & 21 and would never behave in our house like this let alone some one elses. NO it isnt normal, its the product of being brought up allowed to behave like this, being allowed to treat other people like this and probably being told "its normal" *shakes head*

BarbarianMum Tue 14-May-13 10:08:48

As a guest, it would have been rude of her to help herself to food and drinks unless you invited her to do so. Did you?

It is generally considered rude to expect guests to make a major contribution to food and drink, unless they are staying longer than a weekend. When you invite someone to stay food and drink are generally considered to be part of the deal.

YANBU - she was rude in some ways. You don't sound like a very good host though.

PS A niece by marriage is still a niece.

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