Copy 'n' paste conflict resolution (aka How to say "fuck off" and "I love you" and "this conversation is over" all at the same time) #Friends & Family Advice#conflict resolution#family#family drama January 21 2009 | Ariel arielmstallings Photo by madlove photography So, you your family/friends are freaking about about your plans for a tiny simple wedding in your backyard. Or about how your sweety wants to carry a pirate sword for the ceremony. Or about how you're wearing a black dress instead of a white one. …Whatever: you told 'em something about your wedding, and they've freaked out. While every situation is different, I decide to write up a few copy 'n' paste responses that y'all could use in your conversations with your family & friends. Obviously, these would need tweaking depending on your particular conflict, but hopefully the respectful but firm tone will help you hold your ground while also keeping the peace: "It means so much to me that you're so interested in my wedding planning. That said, I hope you'll be able to respect that my partner and I are putting a lot of thought into having wedding reflect our unique relationship and values. I hope you can place your trust in our ability to find what we feel works best for us." "Oh my goodness — it's so flattering that you felt you could come and talk to me about your thoughts on my wedding. I love hearing all the different ideas that we get from friends and family — I think you'll be excited to see what we come up with." "I'm so sorry to hear that you're upset about my decision to [FILL IN THE BLANK] at my upcoming wedding. I hope you understand that this was a decision my partner and I took very seriously, that we made after putting a lot of thought into how we could best make our wedding a reflection of our relationship. While I wish I could change how you feel, I respect that we all have different opinions about weddings … and I hope you know that despite this disagreement, it doesn't change how much I love you! I'm so looking forward to seeing you [at our wedding/some other time/whatever]." "Wow, thanks so much for sharing your ideas with me. It really makes me feel like you're as excited about this as we are! My partner and I believe really strongly in working together to shape a wedding that's a reflection of who we are, and I'll definitely be keeping your ideas in mind during our planning discussions." "Thanks so much for all your suggestions about our wedding. Although we've decided to take our plans in a slightly different direction, I just want you to know that we put a lot of thought into our decision and your input was so incredibly valuable to us. Thanks so much again … and we can't wait to have you there celebrating with us." We'd love to hear your most loving, most boundary-setting phrases that you've used with family members… leave a comment with your favorite ways to say "I love you so much, but absolutely not." Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo Ariel Author of the Offbeat Bride book, Ariel acts as the publisher of all the Offbeat Empire websites. She lives in Seattle with her son, and if she's not reading or writing books, chances are good that she's dancing or happy-crying. Subscribe to her newsletter to get the behind-the-scenes stuff. PREVIOUS Amy & Mikel's Casual BBQ Picnic,Punch & Pie Wedding! NEXT Miranda & Mike's Fun-filled Festival Wedding Show/Hide comments [ 78 ] lol I love #2. "Wow, it's so amazing you felt comfortable enough to totally march up to me and make your own demands on MY wedding. You've got balls. Kudos." I am so totally using that. 🙂 (The nicely worded version.) Reply Cassie- I personally like your version better! Think I might use that one… 🙂 So far everyone has been super supportive of my ideas to have WoW analogies & Princess Bride quotes thrown in there. I just plan to keep most of it a surprise. (At least from the bossy & opinionated family & friends) Reply Love your version. Much better Reply I've also found that a simple, "Thanks for your suggestion! We'll keep that in mind!" works well for those well-intended folks who provide unsolicited advice or ideas. Most people just want to be heard, and won't actually remember whether you incorporated their advice when it comes time for the actual wedding. Reply I know this is a side note, but oh my gosh, do you know where those robot cake toppers came from. they may be the cutest things i've ever seen! also, I think this is a great post b/c I think it applies to all weddings. I think the more offbeat the wedding, the more you might need to use these quotes but I think that people will (loudly) disagree with choices made in traditional weddings as well. I'm divorced now, but I definitely had a few "thank you for you input, but…" conversations during the planning of my (fairly traditional) wedding. Reply What a useful post – Those are great! Usually people are only voicing their opinions because they care about you, and they don't realize how annoying or insulting it might be. In these instances a little diplomacy goes a long way towards preventing any fights or hurt feelings. I can't imagine anyone taking offense at those responses. Every wedding, even the most traditional and inoffensive, has it's detractors. It's like raising children – everyone believes that there is ONE right way to do it, and that is THEIR way! Reply Shelly: As with most photos on OBB, you can click on the picture to go to the photo's source and learn more. 🙂 Reply These are so amazing that I almost wish someone would hurry up and say something offensive about my wedding so I can use one. I only have 2 days left… I better call my FMIL and tell her about all the stuff I'm hiding from her!! Reply Awesome for everyday conversations. Thanks Ariel! Reply No kidding Shelly about these being useful even for non-offbeat topics! I've had to use phrases like this twice on people telling to wear my hair curly instead of wavy! Reply Yeah, I think my parents/friends would just laugh at me if I told them any of that. I think they are just so used to me being sarcastic, they would not understand how serious the situation is! Reply Thank you! I'm writing these down and putting them next to the telephone right now 🙂 Reply I love you SO much. I just sent that to my sister, I'm sure she'll get a giggle out of it as well. Reply Thank you Ariel – that is so thoughtful of you to post something like this! My problem has been that I go ahead and say any of those (or something similar), and the person in question (a) doesn't really listen past the first sentence, and then (b) PERSISTS with the opinion they were expressing in the first place (i.e. no matter what you say it doesn't really shut them up). But it's still nice to know you are thinking about us, and how we can handle things in a positive way! Reply In that case, "No, thank you" is probably your best bet. Short, sweet and directly to the point. Like a sugar-covered dagger. Reply This might just be your most useful post ever, and that is really saying something. Thanks for solving 95% of my wedding stress!!! Reply I am taking all those and memorising them. Fan-flippin-tastic! Reply You seriously rock. Thank you! Reply omg seriously im gonna carry my laptop over to my ma, and read one of these off to her. i cant get her off the whole fukn dress crap. I want one thing she wont buy anything that she doesnt like and well since the rents are paying for the whole wedding im almost fukd, the only thing i have going for me is the threat of eloping! Reply April – I just had a moment of terror with my Mum about my dress (blue, burlesque-inspired and being custom made by a dress maker friend, therefore kind of expensive)…long story short, I am usually very anti expensive/designer clothes for lots of environmental, political and social reasons, so my mother was so shocked when I told her how much it was that she wrote me a snarky email about how I could get a much cheaper off the rack dress and still look just as nice. Problem with that is my mother has a very different taste in dresses to me, and I have an enormous set of boobs that make shopping fairly traumatic (and I fugging hate shopping anyway.) The thought of having a beautiful, custom made, very special dress made by a friend made me so happy, especially since it would fit me in all the right places and I wouldn't have to trek around the whole of Sydney throwing tanties and crying when when I got stroppy and hot. Anyway, I sent my Mum a very sensitive email (it was a bit long but I felt that it was neccessary) explaining all of this to her, and that it was as much about reducing stress, feeling special on the day, etc. To her credit, as soon as she understood my motivation, she insisted I get the dress made and she is paying for the whole thing (rather than the half she agreed to.) I guess my point is that when I have been very, very honest with people and let them know our motivations for doing certain things, that understanding goes a long way to helping people back off. Everyone has their ideas about weddings and I have had a few very insensitive comments from near strangers about why we're planning certain things (such as a combined Bucks/Hens party)and I think the most disarming thing you can use in these circumstances is complete honesty E.g; because neither of us think strippers are appropriate or relevant to celebrating our upcoming wedding and it would make us both uncomfortable if we knew all the boys or girls were off at a seedy pub with a half naked man/woman griding their genitals in my fiances face. THAT shut a few people up! Sorry about the long post – just really get what you're talking about here! Hope this helps a little bit. Amber Reply Thanks for the tip about the combined hen/bucks! My fiancé share the majority of our friends so thought it a better idea, but it has had a very mixed reaction. My dad even called it "pathetic"! I've tried explaining that it wouldn't be fair for me to miss out on certain guy friends, but that didn't even work! Will definitely try the brutal honesty route! By the way, your dress sounds gorgeous! Reply In the 6 or so months since I started planning our June 2009 wedding, I have been surprised and amazed at the unsolicited opinions!!! It is probably the single most disappointing part of being engaged. I still like the direction our wedding is going, but I have had several times where I've second guessed myself and changed my plans. For instance, I originally wanted my bridesmaids to pick out their own yellow dresses — I didn't care that they wouldn't match. I really don't like matchy-matchy anyway. I WANTED the individuality and randomness of seeing each bridesmaid in her own dress. Not everybody looks good in the same dress. But surprisingly, the response I heard from the 'maids was, "It would be a lot easier if you just picked one and we could just get measured and they order it and that's it. I mean that's just so easy." Oh. Okay. That's how you want it? So I picked out one dress from J.Crew and was kind enough to let them know when it went sale for about half price. 🙂 Easy enough. Reply The same thing happened to me! I really wanted my bridesmaids to wear a dress that suited them and that they would wear again so I put across the idea of them just buying a blue dress that they liked, but they preferred the idea of me just chosing one dress that they could all buy and that would be "another thing out of the way". So I picked out an Ezibuy dress that I liked (and just happened to be on sale) and they're trying them on tomorrow:) I'm having difficulties with my parents and as they have generously offered to pay for a large percentage of our wedding it is really hard to stand up to them as I would normally do. My Mother thankfully loves my short 50s style dress with coloured petticoat but is very determined that other things are more traditional like flowers, table decorations, favours etc and my Father doesn't really like our reception venue. It just makes things a little stressful when it doesn't need to be. not only that but we are having arguments over our guest list as he wants to invite his friends which is fine but we are only inviting 60 guests and there are alot of friends that my FH and I would like to be there. All this on top of completing the last year of my law degree arrrggghhh! Reply Amber: I have had this type of convo with ma she is more of a hmm how do i put this.. momzilla! all i wanted was a short tea-length dress and a colored crin. OH HELL NO!!! i have to have a long one, then i tried the well if its long its red, thats fine but cant be all red, then its no i dont like it. jeezopete! IM OVER THE DRESSES!!!!!!! but thank you amber it was a good post its funny most of my friends are like im kinda ashamed of you your a such a strong person tell it how it is type person, and your letting ur ma take over your wedding? im like um ya you dont now ma. So for now ill go sulk and try on the ones she likes, and hope for something to feel good to me. I just havent gotten close to that "omg this is my dress" feeling, im not quite sure it exhists and that peeps who get it are lying or im just devoid of that emotion at this point!. yea sorry for the long post too, and thanks guys!! Reply Wow. I tried to describe my frustration to my fiance like this…planning a wedding is like getting sucked into a black hole…even if you KNOW what you want even the vendors, (wedding dress shops, etc.) try to urge you to buy more "bridey" stuff. Plus it seems like the woman gets hit with all the questions about the wedding. Ug! Some have caused me to second-guess myself. It seems the guys don't get hit with all this stuff. Anyway, he got it, and helped with some of it. I swear, though, I'm saving this blog for "after" the wedding, when I'm sure SOMEONE will have SOMETHING negative to say. pffffft! Reply You are so right! They don't pay attention to your opinions as a woman when you are buying a car or looking at apartments with your fiancé in tow, they aim all comments at him (when you may be the bread winner). But the minute it's wedding related they try like hell to corner you and think they will get somewhere. My fiancé and I make decisions together. But try telling that to vendors or FMIL who think *you* are the reason for all wedding calamities that are sure to happen if you don't have the right *fill in blank with dress, flowers, guest list, venue etc* Reply I've been having such a hard time with this.. we're about a month away from the wedding and I think we're close enough now that a lot of the decisions have been made, but that 2-5 month period was literall HELL. We're paying for 90% of the wedding (my aunt is generously picking up the cost of centerpeices, mom paid for dress, grandma is getting the bouquet) and it has been astonishing how much pressure I've felt when I inform my family of any of our plans. And yeah, it's all questions to me, the groom is getting nothing like this from his family. The worst is when I say something like "oh well this or that is actually HIS idea" to be honest and to try to deflect some judgement, mom rolls her eyes at me as if she's surprised and bothered that a man would ever have an opinion about what his bouttonierre looks like. Then of course I have to spend time defending HIS opinion too. EXHAUSTING. I'm so excited and cannot wait for this to be over! We envisioned such a low-key event, but man… Reply I freaking love you! This is going to help a TON. Thank you! Reply Cassie: bwahaha! See, that is the phrasing I'd use…. I'm bookmarking this post. Unfortunately, I'm sure some of these will end up being mantras by the time we're done…. Reply This is a great post! Luckily, I haven't had the occasion to use these a whole lot, since our family and friends (ie., everyone who's invited) is really cool with our nontraditional style. But these nuggets will get filed in the "Next time someone completely unrelated to me and nowhere close to even being invited decides to give me flak" folder. Reply These are great. My partner and I recently got engaged and have already put some of these ideas in play. Another thing that we did was got everyone in our family a copy of the book, "Difficult Conversations," which was sufficiently not about weddings to not be sappy, but sharp enough to apply to and hopefully improve family relations in general. Highly recommend it to anyone dealing with others! Reply I have to say that the snarky comments made by people we know has been the most depressing part of the wedding planning. Since misery loves company, I do feel a tad bit better that I'm not the only out here. But it would make my day completely if everyone remembered the words of motherly wisdom "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it." Now off to post a link to this from my wedding blog. Cheers and good wedding karma to everyone! Reply I love this!! Right after I got engaged my maid of honor and I went to some "traditional" places. And were snubbed by both the florist, and the most popular local baker because of our fishnet/miniskirt/combat boot look. And the fact that I wanted very non traditional things. It prompted me to have DIY EVERYTHING and do it my way. And be way happier doing it. Be YOURSELF, and don't let anyone ruin the "Happy Bride" feeling you've got! Reply I'm about to have the "I appreciate you wanting what you think is best for me, but we are not going to have the (completely different for each of you) wedding you wished you'd had. And P.s we'll have a skelleton cake topper if we want to!" talk with my divorced parents who each think the other is deciding things about the wedding without them. I may end up using ALL of those cut and paste answers lol. Reply Mwahahahahaha, my partner was told today that he was being disrepectful if he did not wear a top hat and tails to our ceremony. PFFFFFFF what the?!!! And the horror with which I am looked at when the mention of my blue polka dot dress is bought up is in-sane. Will use some of the suggestions posted here next time and do the #uck off please respect our decisions things. Not known for my non mincing of words this is VV helpful xx Reply It seems like so many people are too focused on what a wedding should be that they forget what it actually is. Reply I never thought my ideas were even that offbeat… We're having a forest/fern themed sunday brunch wedding. My family is acting like I'm getting married in blackface. Srsly. I've been lurking for a while and must say this is awesome and sure to come in handy. @steph – I feel you! I told my MOH (my only attendant) to get whatever she wanted, and she made me go shopping with her. My mom keeps e-mailing me about what she should wear, and my dad, too. And the FMIL is asking me what the Fi is going to wear. Why is it my job to tell everyone what to wear?! sorry, end rant. Reply How do you inform someone that they are not invited? My in-laws think they are coming to my sister's wedding! Reply My best advice would be to ask them very pointedly: "Did you receive an invitation? I understand they're working hard to keep the wedding small." Reply yeah, that's a good way to break it. thanks! Reply This will help me sooooo much! Thanks these are really great. Reply OMG, I wish i had read this before the awful argument I had with my sister tonight! I was told off because I did not want to wear the wedding dress my mother bought me, it was shiny and backless, and I thought, unflattering. But seriously it did not cost thousands it was under $50. I was also told off for not including my mother in our preparations, hello she just came back a week ago after being overseas for two months and our wedding is next week!!! I did not want to wear white, but have because my mother asked me to. I did not want bridesmaids but was told i should have my sisters as bridesmaids. Then I was told that it was amazing that I was even getting married! That was just offensive. To say the least it was horrible and rather depressing for about an hour. Meanwhile I will brace myself for the next round of abuse for not wearing the jewelry that was bought for me to wear, not because i don't like it (Ilove it) but simply because i do not feel it compliments the dress. I will keep the advice handy, that's for sure!!! Reply […] opinions, especially if your wedding is going to be in any way different than the traditional. Read this great post for tips on how to tell them to butt out. 4. Know your limitations You are not Super Bride. You do […] Reply LOL. Good. Reply The key to dealing with the parents wanting you to have specific things is donâ€™t let them pay for it. If your mom had to pay for the dress she deserves a lot more input than if you buy it. If you canâ€™t afford it at all, then wait. Whenever we get parental input I can say, oh that would be nice, but I donâ€™t think itâ€™s in the budget. Also- Wedding â€œtraditionsâ€ arenâ€™t as traditional as people think; a lot of them are actually trends. Like the strapless white dress and Easter egg colored bridesmaids. Not tradition- Trend. However some things are tradition and now that I know their origin I want them in my wedding. So ask your mom why it is important to her that you wear the dress or eat the food or whatever she wants. Maybe it will be something special. Reply I wish I'd had this a year ago…it would have saved me a lot of stress (and may save me some stress on the day). but instead I'm now like the chief defender of all brides-to-be. I wear my pants on the outside. I should have a veil/cape. Never will I stand by and let the injustice of wedding poopers go unpunished!! Reply this is when I'm glad that I have a small… fairly passive family with few to no traditions Reply I've got the MIL that is upset with ME that our wedding is small, even though it was among her son's most crucial requirements. I understand those of you that are going unheard, regardless of how or what you say. She's like this about almost everything in general, so I've learned to let it pass over me. It makes you angry at first, but you need to keep in mind that their motivation is usually love-based. I've gotten to where I make jokes about it. Laughing about ridiculous behavior is very soothing. Remember what Ariel is saying, this isn't just about saying fuck-off. This is also about saying I love you even when you don't understand me. Reply I used a combination of these when my future mother-in-law refused to come to our wedding because we aren't having a Christian pastor. Suffice to say at the end of the conversation not only did I get what I wanted (my pagan friend marrying us) but she also offered to pay for our wedding cake as well! Reply I LOVE the title of this post. Thank you so much. The past week has involved dealing with a controlling cousin and her father (my uncle) and how they want to deal with my cousin's kids at my wedding. Before I had even formulated a policy, they started badmouthing. At one point (during another cousin's wedding where Bad Cousin let her 20 month old chatter throughout the ceremony), she turns to me and says, "I was thinking YES to ceremony, NO to cocktail hour and dinner." Hmmm. Whose wedding? And +1 to Estella's comment about Difficult Conversations!!! I have the book, and the thought of reading it to deal with this actually flashed through my mind just yesterday. I haven't yet gotten to the part of the book where they tell you what to do when the other side is not terribly evolved. But the introduction promises they do address that. I love Internet therapy. Reply I solved both the bridesmaid/MIL/mother of the bride dress dilemma with this phrase: "Wear whatever makes you feel beautiful." Although this may result in some outfits you don't like, it will save you hours and hours of drama, tears, and arguing. My sister let us choose our dresses for her wedding, but she didn't see one of the girls' dresses until the day of the wedding (they live in different cities). This girl's dress was really low cut, but when someone else pointed this out, my sister said, "If she wants to look slutty at my wedding, that's her choice. It makes HER look bad, not me." I told everyone they could wear whatever they want because I am too busy with my own stuff to even care what anyone else is wearing. You want to wear purple tulle? Be my guest. My issue is that we are keeping the wedding small so most of my family is mad that they weren't invited. I don't know if there's a nice way to tell them, "Look, I couldn't afford to invite all of you so please stop guilt tripping me." Reply Regarding invites and finances: "I wish I could have you all there to celebrate with me, but unfortunately our budgetary constraints meant that we had to keep the guest list *really* small. I hope that we can celebrate together another time in a more affordable setting." Reply I'm marrying a MtF transgendered girl and we're both kinky as heck, and I've already had to change my wedding from ~my~ kind of late night somebody's screaming in a good way party to a family-friendly pool party. My folks may or may not attend, even so. That's just too bad. These return volleys are WONDERFUL. I might yet have my father show up, if I use one of these. *smiling* Wish me luck – 45 days to go! Reply Just found this thread. Engaged recently with 4 months to plan. Love some of the ideas! Offbeat bride is what I was planning without realising it. I'm so old now that I think my family is just plain releived, and will be delighted to come to anything! They havent had a chance to dress up for 20 years since my sister's one. She is looking forward to donning a feather boa and sequins, as she has never had the occasion to wear them and her kids are grown up now. He's not far behind me age wise, and with both his much older sisters twice married! Families seem releived they are not being asked to fork out. Might make a difference to the pressure on your wedding decisions with families if you are young couples or first in the fold to be married. Puts it into perspective – also nothing dates a period of fashion like an in-vogue wedding dress. your pics will always be timeless (get some black and white ones also to confuse the great grandkids!) Best of luck all. Linda (UK) Reply It is very hard to manage relationship conflict due to lack of knowledge, conversational skills and immatureness. All these things are necessary for relationship conflict management. We have to take care of all the little things which will turn in to most aggressive talks and conflicts and finally results in to breakup and divorce. When your spouse gets angry then you have to remain calm so that your partner forced to think that you still love and want him. And always remain try to be decent during conversation whether your are fighting or discussing something. And give chance to your partner to express his/her needs and desires from you. It will generate a trustworthy bond between both of the partners. Reply Oh my frikin gawd! tytytytytytytyty!!!!! Every since we got engaged a year ago everyone has had to voice their opinions.. the MoH wants to wear a pants suit, the one MotB wants to wear black, the second cant figure out why i would wear burgundy. why have pockets? why not get married in a church? you havent ordered flowers?… ugh. I think by the day the wedding comes I will either be hiding under the table with a bottle of tequila or will have ripped all my hair out. I never realized i would have to defend myself against the people I love. these diplomatic accessories are going in my purse FOREVER! Reply Got engaged 4 days ago. Yep, 4 days. I've already been told that we can't get married in June or July because that won't work for one friend, that we can't get married in the park we want because it has sentimental value to another, that we can't get married the day we want because the trees won't have leaves yet, and that the dress I have picked out isn't cutting-edge-designery enough. Oh, and apparently I have to have a ton of bridesmaids and they all have to look alike. One friend's mom started researching venues and availability WITHOUT ASKING (I've met her 3 times). This post is going to save my life. Printing NOW. Reply Another good tactic is safety in numbers, H2b's gran was freeking out about his 'jokes' about my dad droping me off at the alter (we are *hopefully* having a church wedding) on his motorbike, whilst I was keeping a straight face and telling her this was indeed the case his cousins/aunt gathered round to support the idea and tell me how cool it was- overrulled gran! Reply Read more comments 1 2 › Join the conversation Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Sign me up for your offbeat awesomeness newsletter! No-drama comment policy Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy. Biz owners & wedding bloggers Please just use your real name in your comment, not your business name or blog title. 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