Sunday, August 9, 2009

Do I make you uncomfortable?

I've been seriously wanting to ask people this when I go their houses. Not my close friends, but others I don't know as well.

Yesterday we went to a birthday party for an adorable little boy on our street who was turning 1. Hubby got there before me as I was at another party with Morgan. Hubby likes to tease people and started teasing the hostess that she needed recycling for the multitude of soda cans and water bottles. When I arrived she was quick to point out that she had started a bag to recycle, because she felt that I would be upset if she didn't. I was horrified. Yes, I recycle and try to do what I can, but I certainly don't want to make others feel like they are somehow less because they don't.

I've gotten the same thing from others who apologize that they are serving me something that isn't organic. It is so upsetting to me that I would make people uncomfortable about their hospitality by my very presence. This is certainly not my intention. Yes, I would love for people to adopt the same principles that we try to have, but I would never judge them for it.

I know this isn't unique to me. I was speaking to my friend L and she was telling me a similar tale about a party that she had attended with her family. While we would all like to be ambassadors for the environment, feeling like you have to keep up with the Green Joneses should not be the goal. Does anyone else find this when you visit others? How do you deal with it?


Green Bean said...

I used to get that a year or so ago but not so much any more. It always made me feel so bad. I wasn't there to judge. I was there to socialize.

Fairly Odd Mother said...

Hmmmm. . .I have had a few people comment on stuff like that, but as I see it, I'm glad if people think "oh, I should recycle that" when they see me. Because, you know, they SHOULD! LOL

But, no, I don't feel judged by you or feel like you'd look down on me if you saw all the cans of beans in my cupboard. I assume that we all do what we can. Except for those people who don't recycle cans and bottles. They deserve to duck their head and run for a trash bag!

This may be why I'm not invited to too many gatherings anymore. ; )

Jessica said...

Sadly, I have a similar problem but not because I recycle or eat organic.

I started out motherhood being very vocal about my child-rearing opinions. I soon realized every friend of mine to have a child after me has not included me in its life--it's like they're afraid I'll judge them on their parenting skills.

The truth is, I don't care if THEIR kids are nutjobs--as long as my kid is not a wild animal. :)

I've also noticed people quoting my opinions as I've written them in blogs--for example, I've written about parents who force their kids to join sports or take classes and the other week, in an email from a friend she wrote: I'm busy with all of the kids' sports. I'm sorry if that upsets you! I've never spoken to her about her kids involvement in sports but she gleaned from my blog that I disapprove?!?!?!

Honestly--I stopped caring if I make my friends uncomfortable. We all do the best we can & as long as you are not harming my family--I don't care what you are doing/or not doing. :)

kitsapFG said...

I've experienced this a little bit but not so much that I am concerned about it. I really keep my opinions on things largely to myself. The only place I tend to discuss them more openly is on my website - but even then, I try to be inclusive of others who may not be quite as serious as I am on the topic of food production and living more simply.

The Mom said...

Green Bean, I'm glad its better for you now. I'm always just there to socialize too.

Christina, it is always good when people think twice about what they do. You're always invited to my house!

Jessica, isn't it funny how the written word is sometimes interpreted by people. I didn't realize who was reading my blog until a nasty comment from my MIL. Interesting.

Kitsap, I try to keep my opinions to myself except when around like minded souls. Its those who see me as a bit radical that seem to have an issue I think.

Michaela Dunn Leeper said...

I get the "it isn't organic or anything" bit a lot here too. I don't expect ppl to change their lives for me, just as I don't expect to change our lives for others & I wish ppl would get that thru their heads, LOL.

La Rêveuse said...

Yep, the greener-than-thou thing--we get it. My hubby is a solar energy prof, so we even get a hard time from his students for not having solar panels. (He's new--we can't afford anything but a condo now!)

I just try to lead by example, and say, "every little thing helps, but no one can do everything." I still use plastic bags and containers, can only recycle corrugated cardboard due to geographical limitations, and can't compost due to condo restrictions. I do what I can and try not to sweat the rest. Green guilt stress is not what I need!