July 31, 2003
Send us your questions
* My husband's rude friends, Part 1
I would appreciate your opinion: I love my husband and most of his
Iranian friends dearly. So, what's the problem? Their rude and disrespectful
wives and children.
First of all, as a working mother, it is lots of work for me to cook,
clean and shop to prepare to have them all for dinner. Then when they
come, the son complains about our food (the parents do nothing), refuses
to say hello or good-bye to me (yet my husband is AMOO and gets hugs
and kisses), and very rude to our toddler son who is significantly
younger than their son.
I feel like a prisoner when they come because
will not speak up while the mother acts like her son is Jesus Christ
come back to earth. The Iranian father knows his son is a little
beast and is very embarrassed by both their behavior but says nothing.
The last time we went to their home, I tried to kiss their son and
wish him a happy new year. (A month before, I had given him a nice gift.)
He shoved me so hard, my ribs hurt. Then he promptly ran to kiss my husband
and said "Oh AMOO!!". His mother stood there and said nothing
and so did my husband. I voiced my objection, but nobody supported me.
You know, I get the idea that Iranian kids would call a stranger on
the street AMOO, but the wife of the Amoo, who remembers birthdays, christmas,
etc., drives to the crowded mall, buys the gifts, wraps them, cooks
food, etc. is just the piece of chopped liver in the corner married
to the Amoo.
Now I am being pressured to have them over again. I am tired of having
people in my home who treat me this way. This causes major tension
between my husband and myself because this guy is his best and oldest
I told my husband we could have them over only on condition that this
stuff is straightened up once and for all. Guess what, he is angry.
Now, I ask you, what to do? Because you see, the husband has been a
wonderful friend to us. It's his precious little family that makes us
I am tempted to tell my husband to go visit him on his own time and
I will cultivate relationships with those who know how to act inside
home. But you know, the pressure to have them over from my husband
will probably never stop! >>> See part 2
A Disappointed and Tired Wife
Abjee Fotti and Abjee Pari write:
Dear Disappointed and Tired Wife:
The Abjeez feel greatly for your dilemma. Unfortunately, the sense of
hospitality among Iranians is both a quality and also a downfall. While
it is tactful to ignore your guests' annoying manners when they are over
at your house, and to be a gracious host, the Abjeez are firm believers
that there is a line that should not be crossed and just because you
are a host does not mean you have to be a doormat. Especially when you
are not shown the same grace and respect when it is your turn to be the
We would say this about anyone, no matter if this is the person's best
friend or oldest friend or even relatives. If they do not show respect
to you, and are otherwise abusive to you and your son either verbally
or physically, you have a moral duty to protect your family from such
You deserve peace, happiness, respect and privacy
(even safety) in your own home. If you feel that the friend's son is
exhibiting unsafe or even rude manners towards you and your younger
son, you have a duty to safekeep his well being even at the cost of friendship.
That being said, we feel that there is a lot of resentment seething
underneath all this and it may not even be associated necessarily with
guests. As you say, when you have a career it is difficult to come
home and then undertake all the duties of host for your husband's friends.
In that state of tiredness and resentment, you may have magnified the
often little annoyances and rude manners that unfortunately come with
a lot of people. You have to draw boundaries for yourself and let your
husband know about it.
While you are a wife and mother and part of that
is to at least try to get along with his friends and entertain them
from time to time, you do not have to be a 24 hours maid/cook/etc. Limit
invitations to a certain number of times a month (i.e. not all week-ends
please, you need some time to rest).
Tell your husband not to invite
guests without consulting you (this is just common courtesy as you
would consult him regarding inviting your own friends) and make sure
dinner parties do not occur at the end of a long tiring work day. Instead
of always cooking at home, you can invite them to dinner outside.
are lots of kids friendly restaurants that could accomodate you! Or,
just order delivered food, it is as yummy as homecooking and often
people won't even notice the difference. If you have the means to , you
get some help for that day to help you clean up after the guests are
gone and the dishes are piled high.
Also, your husband has a duty to
help out with the festivities after all they are his guests too. Don't
take so much on your shoulders or you will undoubtedly grow so bitter
and resentful that you will not only destroy friendships but your marriage
as well. A good idea is to invite your own friends from time to time
so that your social life is not totally monopolized by your husband's
friends. Then, when he is walking in your shoes, he may be more understanding
that you feel like an outcast always trying to peek in.
We notice that you said you get along fine with most of your husband's
friends but the problem is the wives and children. Why is that? Have
you made an effort to get to know the friends but not their wives and
kids? People will pick up on negatiuve vibes even if you do not overtly
We are not saying it is right for the friend's kid to have
shoved you or not to say hello and goodbye, we are simply saying perhaps
he is scared of you or he dislikes you because he feels the same dislike
emanating from you. Presents are just material things . A genuine interest
in someone, a comforting smile or pat on the head can go a long way
to improving relationships between adults and children.
WE do not know the
specifics of your situation: You have to look within yourself and conclude
whether you have made a genuine effort to make your guests (all of
them) feel comfortable and included in your home. Little body language
as rolling of the eyes or wincing can tell a lot about a person.
there is a language or cultural barrier to be overcome (It seems that
you are not Iranian). The wives may feel intimidated by you if they
are homemakers and you are a career woman. They may be offended at what
perceived as your unfriendliness. Sometimes, you have to make an effort
at breaking the ice. That way, if the rude manners continue, at least
you can tell your husband you have genuinely tried.
Think long and hard about the real core issues that are bothering you
then have a talk with your husband calmly (without screaming or scenes).
Bring up specific examples of past inappropriate behavior and voice
your concern over your son's well being as well as your own. The next
you have a social event with those friends, don't bottle all your annoyances
in but tell your husband right after the evening is over what was unacceptable
to you and why.
Effective Communication with your husband is key. We wish you the best
of luck and keep us updated on your progress,
Abjee Pari and Abjee Fotti
* My husband's rude friends, Part 2
Thanks for your reply and so prompt too. Yes, you are right, there
is lots of resentment seething under the surface and yes you are right,
I am not Iranian, although married to one for so long I feel I am
at least! I cook great Iranian food, and speak Farsi. Have travelled
to Iran several times. I enjoy the culture, art and history. I have
wonderful Iranian in-laws whom I would not trade for the world.
Let me clarify: I do not resent cooking and cleaning to entertain
for people when they come here and we can all have a good time
and I can
feel respected in my own home. I only resent doing it for people
who I feel disrespect me because it is lots of work, plain and simple,
and time is always in short supply for all of us.
I really feel
is sexism and racism at the heart of it. The men are more important
and the women less so. And there seems to be so little tolerance
of my culture from the female part of the couple. It seems that
I am just a little too good at picking up on it. I am told by my husband
to just put up with their rudeness. I've been putting up with
I do feel that I have made a genuine effort with this particular
Don't misunderstand me - I do get along with plenty
of my husband's other friends' spouses. It's just that these are the
who my husband pressures me to invite over and I am tired of
it. As a matter
of fact, there are other Iranian couples that I ADORE hanging
around with and love to entertain. It's just that I feel I have been
a straight-jacket of politeness and have had to put up with things
that I feel are unacceptable from these people.
is bothered greatly
by this family's behaviour too, complains about it to me, but
always puts up with it and hushes me up for the sake of his long-standing
friendship with his friend. I have said to my husband time
again, if he really
is your friend, then surely he would care enough about how
you feel if you sat down and had a heart-to-heart talk.
I believe it is very difficult to find couples that are compatible
with each other. Not only do the same sexes have to match,
but everybody has
to match each other. I love these people, but I feel I have
no rights when it comes to speaking up about things with their
son and so much
has built up over the years that I am just fed up with it.
When I mentioned that I had bought a gift for the kid, I did that
In a letter
it is difficult to mention everything.
Let me clarify: I have
also spent time trying to get to know this child: showing an
interest in his life,
his school, his sports. Buying him books written by my
friend who is an author and trying to share that with him.
a more quiet
person. I don't run in to the room and roll on the floor
with the kids like a big puppy like my husband. I show my affection
consistent ways: a sincere how are you? How is school?
Tell me about your friends.
Everything okay? Remembering all the birthdays, buying
the gifts and always showing up with them. That interest, steadiness
is how I show my love for people, not by showering them
with loud noisy affection and slobbery kisses.
I really feel that because
this child is just so spoiled, that because I do not cater to him as
the center of the universe,
he's been taught from day one that he should always acknowledge
no mention of the wife is made, he picks up on that.
It has in my opinion been his training. In my own family, children
to say hello
and good-bye to both parts of the couple. This child's
grandmother still feeds him with her own hands, and he's already
old. The mother
already stated several years ago that this is how she
likes it with her son and that's too bad.
I think that's a very unbalanced
regards to this child. I have a different philosphy
for my son:
I want him to respect others, and realize he is not
world, and also to be as independent as he can. Just
last week, another wife of an Iranian friend and I had a frank discussion
told me things that my son did at her house. I didn't
hearing it in
the beginning, but I give her credit - I respect her
adult intelligence. These issues were addressed with our son. He must
at everyone's house. I have never told this other mother
how to raise her son, but I think the son senses that I will
he doesn't like that.
Anyway, for me the situation as it remains with these
people is untenable. And unless my husband wants
to change it
with me, I
hold little hope
that it can improve. I begged my husband to sit down
with me with these people to talk it over so it wouldn't
but he is
uncomfortable. Maybe deep down inside we all know
that if we confront
the child's behavior,
the wife will become too angry. You know, If he loves
his friend so much, maybe the two of them can just
go out for
Thanks for caring and for listening.
A Disappointed and Tired Wife
Abjee Fotti and Abjee Pari write:
Dear Tired Wife:
You are right, it is very hard to condense a whole life story into one
letter. We appreciate that you have written to us again and clarified
some things. For example, we didn't know your husband is aware of this
rude behavior and is demanding that you stifle your feelings. There is
no mincing words. He is 100% wrong in this. As we have said before, it
is the moral duty to protect your family from negative and destructive
forces outside, no matter if it is a best friend or even a relative.
Since you have made genuine efforts to be a good host and to try to ease
things, and things are not improving, your husband is being VERY selfish
ind emanding that you entertain hand and foot these people who have done
nothing but show the utmost disrespect for you but what's worse, are
showing a morally banrupt example for your son by glorifying a spoiled
I hope that you can get your husband to agree that, if he wants to keep
his friendship with his friend, he has to also consider the feelings
of his wife and child. As you say, a perfect solution would be for the
two of them to go out together, why bring the wives and kids together
since they obviously do not mesh???
If your husband insists on bringing them over, I see no other alternative
than for you to stand up to the child's rude behavior and so what if
the mom gets mad??? Then she will not come to your house anymore and
problem solved. I am not saying you should act belligerent or scream
or be physical with the child. However, a stern verbal message that his
behavior is inappropriate. This is your right because under your roof,
he should abide by your rules. If he does not say hello or good bye,
call him on it.
Depending on how old he is, use the appropriate language.
Tell him that polite little boys say hello and goodbye to the adults
in the room when they come on a visit. If he grabs his plate of food
wirhout saying thank you, you hold on to the plate and you say: "When
someone serves you a meal, the proper thing is to say thank you." And
so on and so forth. You already know and can predict his behavior so
it should be easy to prepare your responses beforehand. If this has the
effect of embarassing his mother, so be it!!!!
Maybe it will be a wake-up
call for her. Believe us when we tell you, she is very well aware of
her spoiling her kid and the fact that she says she "likes" it
only means that she has decided she can take her liberties with you whereas
in other circumstances, with different people that she has respect for
(or fears) she would not DARE bring her child or control him. For example,
I am sure she woul dnot exhibit the same kind of laissez faire attittude
in front of the boss and his family!!!
While it is not yout job to raise someone else's child, it is certainly
within your boundaries to demand a certain level of civility and behavior
in your house, especially lest your own son learns bad manners from him.
I hope this has been more helpful to you.
Abjee Pari and Abjee Fotti
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