Post # 1
**Background Info**: My dad has a large familly. I only see everyone once a year….if Im lucky….
My mom had herd from the husband of one of my dad’s sisters that him and his wife were getting a divorce. We will call her, “Aunt L” This was about 6-8 months ago. More recently, at a family wedding, “aunt L” was not seen with her husband.
So I was in the process of collecting all of the addresses I needed for our ‘save the dates’. I was getting a few missing addresses from my dad’s other sister, “Aunt B”. While getting all the info, I very casually asked “Aunt B” if she knew if “Aunt L” was still living at the address I had in my book, and if her and her husband were still living together or if she knew anything… (because remember the same husband in question, had told my mom that they were getting a divorce–I only see “Aunt L” MAYBE once a year-so I thought I’d ask…..)
My “Aunt B” said she did not know about her sister “Aunt L”, kindly gave me the other addresses, and that was it!
Tonight I got a rather…nasty message from “Aunt L”… She was mad saying, if I had concerns about her or her situation that she should just talk to her…. Many things were said, but that “sums it up”
I agree, that in the best situation, I would have spoken with my “Aunt L”, but like I said, I hardly ever see this aunt, and we live several hours away from one another, so when I asked, “Aunt B”, I did not think it would become a big issue. My problem… I feel horrible, I am never one to offend others, and “ruffle feathers”
Was I in the wrong for asking my aunt about her sisters “status”?
I just feel so bad….
Post # 3
- Wedding: July 2014 - Prague
I don’t think you did anything wrong. You can’t be held responsible for the bad communication of these sisters.
Depending on exactly how rude her message was, I would or would not respond. I guess I’d try to take the high road if possible and just send her something simple, like “I’m really sorry for the mix-up! Wedding planning takes a lot of time and I thought I was being efficient. My bad!” or something less flippant… you know what I mean.
And it sounds like there are marital problems, if not an actual divorce, so I’d try and excuse her rudeness by assuming she is a mess at the moment.
Don’t be so hard on yourself!
Post # 4
Etiquette Snob here… lol
It was ok to ask Aunt B if the address you had for Aunt L was correct, or if she had a more recent one.
It was not correct to ask about Aunt L’s relationship status with Aunt B (that is called gossiping)
So ya, I can see WHY Aunt L reamed you out.
You had NO BUSINESS inquring about her personal business (what is going on with her Marriage) … It is entirely HER CHOICE WHAT SHE CHOOSES TO SHARE WITH OTHERS
So ya it was a faux pas.
I’d chalk it up to the fact you just didn’t know any better … as to what merits and doesn’t merit polite conversation
(Altho to be certain… even I cross this type of line too from time to time… asking Questions that could only be seen as TOO FORWARD to family members… using that old thought process “We are ALL Family here”)
Will she get over it… absolutely.
Still tho would be classy on your behalf to manage some sort of an apology.
Hope this helps,
Post # 5
@parada: Your Aunt was being needlessly defensive. Her husband told the family they were divorcing so if she has a problem with people speculating about the status of their relationship, she should take it up with him.
You asked your other Aunt about L’s address not to gossip, but to ensure she received your invitation and to spare her an awkward conversation.
Nevertheless, feathers have been ruffled. In L’s defense, it’s possible she’s in a difficult place at the moment and is just hypersensitive. Write her back with a warm, sincere and SHORT apology. “Dear Aunt L – I apologize if I’ve done anything to upset or offend you. Please know that was never my intent. My only concern was getting your correct address to send you an invitation to my wedding. We dont get to see one another as often as I’d like so I hope you will be able to join us. Love, Parada”
Post # 6
@parada: Aunt L is being RUDE. What you asked was pertinent information. You needed to know her address and you needed to know her “status” with the familty to avoid awkward situations at the wedding.
I would nicely but tactfully explain this and then NOT send her an invite.
Post # 7
@This Time Round: +1. I was going to say, there’s nothing wrong with asking for an address but there’s no need to gossip about why the address may or may not have changed.
Post # 8
Well sure, it isn’t great to discuss other people’s business but let’s be brutally honest here, most of us might have done it in certain circumstances and you are family. Not casual gossipers for the sake of it. You also had a valid reason to check out Aunt L’s whereabouts and it is hard to see how you could have done this without avoiding the elephant in the room that is her current marital status.
I’m also inclined to think that the whole situation could have been avoided if Aunt B hadn’t chosen to share your conversation with her sister. In the meantime, the best thing you can do is speak to Aunt L again when things have calmed down and assure her that you really hadn’t intended to engage in malicious gossip.
Post # 9
I would have done exactly as you did. You didn’t ask Aunt B to gossip about Aunt L, you did it because of course you needed the address and didn’t want to send it to both her and her husband if they were no longer together! I understand completely! Personally, I wouldn’t want to bring up something that sensitive to my Aunt. I mean, what are you supposed to say? “Oh, hey Aunt L have you been having marriage problems, because I want to send my invite to the right person?” I would have thought it politer to quietly ask a closer relative like you did if they are still together. You weren’t like “ooohh I heard they are having issues, what’s up with that? Why do you think they divorced? I heard from so and so who told me from so and so they said this about each other” That would be gossip. You just asked what names were appropriate to write on an invite. I don’t really get why she is offended, unless she doesn’t really know how the conversation went and Aunt B made it sound worse than it was? Maybe Aunt B did some gossiping of her own, I don’t know.
When I was preparing my invites I couldn’t remember my cousin’s long term boyfriend’s name. I’ve only met him once over a year ago. (They don’t live very close) I felt bad telling my cousin that I couldn’t remember his name, because obviously he means quite a bit to her and they have been together awhile. I didn’t want to offend her, so when I was speaking to one of her brothers about the wedding I casually asked “Oh, what is Tiffany’s boyfriend’s name again? I want to put it on the invite” Maybe it was wrong to ask a family member. But what if I asked her his name and they had just broken up and I upset her? What if she was seeing someone new? I thought it was cutting out any awkwardness. Imagine if you sent the invite to Aunt and Uncle L and it turned out she had divorced him and been with someone else for months?
If anything I would think she should be upset at the husband for telling everyone they were divorcing if she didn’t want that info out or if they really weren’t sure yet. I also seriously wonder what Aunt B said to her about your conversation.
Maybe you can call and speak to Aunt L about the misunderstanding? Apologize for offending her and try to explain that you were confused and didn’t want to offend her by writing the wrong name on the invites or upset her for bringing up something so sensitive? I would think that you did it mainly to spare her feelings of having to talk about it. I don’t know if that will help. What did Aunt L say exactly?
Post # 10
@This Time Round: I did indeed apologize. I told her I was unaware of the situation and did not mean any disrespect.
Post # 11
@prahajess: Thank you for the kind words. I did apologize. I simply said I was unaware of her situation and that i did not mean any disrespect.
This should be a fun family Christmas this year 🙂
Post # 12
@Zhabeego: You are good with words!! Your suggestion gets to the point, and is sincere. THANK YOU
Post # 13
@BriansBride: You got htat to a ‘T’. Thank you for the advice.
Post # 14
@parada: Thanks! Happy I could help. Good luck!
Post # 15
@MrsPanda99: I disagree the OP was necessarily gossiping. Her family was told her Aunt L was divorcing so it was reasonable for her to conclude that the Aunt’s address may have changed. It would have been awkward to call L and ask directly so she asked another close family member.
It seems to me the person guilty of gossiping here is the Aunt who reported back to L anything the OP may have said. Not cool.