Offensive or not?


I have a friend, Arlene, who emailed 4 or 5 of her friends and asked for advice. She lives next to a single father of a 5 year old. The mom is not in the picture. He works a lot to make ends meet.

She said the 5 year old shows up a lot, unannounced or invited, and is annoying. She's bossy and rude. She also says its because she's just not been taught better.

She asked for suggestions.

I suggested she talk to dad and schedule a couple of play dates a week. Maybe knowing he has a break will help him keep her at home the rest of the time, or at least not at Arlene's.

Another response came from a lady who's very religious. She quoted 2 Bible passages about staying out of your neighbors house. Then told Arlene to bore this little girl to the point she won't want to come back.

When this lady saw my reply, she responded to everyone saying "Here's a thought, Arlene. Does this man watch your kid so you can have a break? Why should you be responsible for his kid and being sure he gets a break?"

I was offended. I sometimes think I'm a social faux pas, so I'm asking, is this a little offensive?


New Member
She kind of seems to be taking a jab at your remark. I would probably be offended too. The problem is, when its in an email, its hard to tell someones tone behind what they say. Maybe email her and ask her if your suggestion bothered her and see what she says. If she was being offensive, she'll be doing some serious back peddling at that point.


(the future) MRS. GERE
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> Maybe email her and ask her if your suggestion bothered her and see what she says. If she was being offensive, she'll be doing some serious back peddling at that point. </div></div>

If she made that comment and everyone else could read it, too, be sure to REPLY ALL when you do the above.

I thought you had a very nice suggestion. The tone of her comment was completely uncalled for.



New Member
Sure glad she isn't my neighbor. What warmth and understanding from an obviously religious woman. I'm wondering if she responds like this to all posts that have better, kinder ideas than her own. Not only would I say she is offensive, but she is extremely defensive.

I love your idea! It is compassionate and still gives some hope that the little one won't constantly be over at the neighbor's house.


New Member
I doubt she meant anything by it. She probably responded with-out re-reading her response. Try not to get offended, after all, both of your intentions was to help out a friend.

Emails are very easy to get mixed up with-emotions when there was no intention. (it happens at work all the time!)


Well-Known Member
As somebody who considers myself a Christian, I find it offensive. Are we not told that, unlike Cain who said, "Am I my brother's keeper?" we are responsible for helping each other in this world? It seems to me that if you want to quote the Bible, it would be a hundred times easier to find quotes to suggest that we should help our neighbors than to find those that suggest we should stay out of our neighbor's house. The woman sounds like a first class hypocrite to me. Jesus had time for little children; why does she think she is too good for them?
I am not a good enough Christian to be overjoyed at a childish nuisance next door, but I hope I'm a good enough one that if I found myself in that position I would be at least a little helpful. The poor dad is probably overwhelmed and needs all of the help and kindness he can get.
I doubt that anybody, on their death bed, ever says, Gee, I wish I hadn't been so nice to people and so helpful to others. If so, and that is who will be in heaven, I hope I go to the other place.

Wiped Out

Well-Known Member
Staff member
I would probably have been offended. I know e-mails can be misinterpreted but from the way it is worded she sounded rather rude to me. I think your suggestion was very thoughtful. I think I would probably ignore it as best I could, however, I really like All Stressed Outs and Suz's ideas.


Active Member
Shari, I like your idea. But unlike a lot of the others, I do feel you shouldn't respond to this woman AT ALL.

Christians (hey, ALL religious people) come in many forms. Some are genuine, loving, generous and forgiving. Others are very much more old school. You also have to recognise that a small number of religious people are also a tad disturbed. It's fairly natural for some people who are disturbed to find solace in religion - there is a level of emotional security. But it doesn't automatically cure their underlying problems. Not many, and I say this as a Christian also; it's just that the more extreme people also tend to be more extreme in the manifestations of their faith. I'm speaking from experience here - I've spent the last seven years caught up in a friendship with a Christian woman who has serious mental problems (I do know, for she told me in great detail). I thought, by my trying to be there for her and listen to her, I was helping her learn to THINK rather than just take on board what she is told to think and believe.

In the end it backfired badly. It became too challenging for her to accept that life is not black and white, and the only way she could rid herself of the constant reminder that life is complex, was to purge herself of the person reminding her of this and trying to make her think. She takes advice from whoever she can get to agree with her viewpoint and is currently behaving very erratically. Many of us who have supported her now realise we enabled her, and her latest behaviour has alienated any last shreds of sympathy. This is a pity because she really needs support and balanced social contact.

Some religious people hide behind their religion and use it to justify their own extreme judgmentalism. If they didn't have religion they would find another excuse - politics, perhaps.

I also know others at my church, a very small number of whom each have their blind spots. If we disagree on something, I walk away rather than challenge something they hold too close to their hearts. What is the point of challenging what you know they cannot accept? It's Ross Greene again - Basket C. I love these people dearly, but we all have our faults, some of which we can accept and others we cannot.
My best friend grew up in an abusive family and married a violent man who was also a rapist. She finally broke free but whenever she's faced with a man who is drunk or loud, she just freezes. She is extremely intolerant of them. Where I will talk to them or stand up to them, she will walk away. When she hears of a woman in even a mildly abusive relationship, her advice is always to leave, immediately, and not even try to sort things out. Because for her, ALL abuse has become her abuse. But not all that appears to be abuse is incurable, or even abuse. Some things can be resolved.

But not this. Not at all. If you rub this woman's nose in it in any way, or even challenge, she will get even more righteously indignant and will HAVE to attack in order to continue to feel justified.

So don't reply, you are only adding fuel to her fire. Ignore her is the best option.

The majority of Christians (and other religious people) that I know are not like this. It's just unfortunate that when you find someone who is using Christianity (or any other religion) as a weapon to bludgeon people with, who quote scripture to justify a particularly narrow point of view, you need to tiptoe away quietly and not engage them. Because nothing you say will change them, it will only convince them that YOU are a danger and requiring cleansing. YOU then become a focus for their intense zeal. Speaking from experience - not pleasant.

And your original intent - totally blown away by major distraction.

Shari, if Arlene can reach out and support this father, she is doing a very unselfish thing. She could also be starting a chain of events which could lead to a lot of support all round. In our small community, for example, a mothers group set up a babysitting cooperative. It worked more formally, but the end results were greater than expected - not only was it much more possible to get babysitting when you needed it, but there was much more social interaction between parents (a lot of whom were lonely) and also the children. We got to compare our children more, watch them play together, and this helped those who had a child not functioning quite as well, to recognise it earlier and feel more confident about seeking help. Mothers with some degree of post-natal depression were more likely to get help because they realised, by comparison, that something was wrong and it wasn't their fault.

We have also a local Playgroup which for some years was chaired by a stay-at-home father. it was funny at times - his name was Chris, and he would get mail addressed to MS Chris *****. All the official people assumed that Playgroup couldn't be run by a bloke. But he was darned good at it and was an amazing support to all parents, including all the mothers. His kids are in high school now and the town still loves this family for what they do in the community. Playgroup did a lot for him and for the other stay-at-home dads.

If this father gets a chance to see how other parents manage, he might feel less overwhelmed. It has to help him socially, too, to be in a position to catch his breath.

I would point out, though - Arlene needs to be on the alert for two things:

1) She needs to be careful to not be simply taken advantage of; and

2) She doesn't want this bloke (or anybody else) to misconstrue her intentions.

If Arlene can adapt your suggestion to involve other at-home parents, it could be a big help to more than just this bloke.

Another addition to your suggestion - Arlene, instead of simply offering to mind the girl unconditionally, could suggest to the bloke that she could mind the girl in exchange for some yard work, or some handyman assistance, if it's in this bloke's capability. He would then feel more useful and less under obligation. He would also be less likely to misunderstand her intentions.

Shari, you are a decent, caring, loving person. Don't be blighted by contact with someone who is out of touch with humanity.



New Member
Wow, Marg. Very well put. I guess I didn't really read into her quoting the bible too much. If she is a religious nut, I would agree with you. No reply is better. If she is a person who is right no matter what, she will feel the need to re-attack.

I also agree that the offer to watch her sometimes was a nice thing to do and very thoughtful. I'm sure this dad could use a break. I think Marg is right though that intentions need to be crystal clear.


Well-Known Member
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: meowbunny</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> What warmth and understanding from an obviously religious woman. </div></div>

(Fullly aware that you are absolutely right to be sarcastic, here MB) Being able to quote biblical passages doesn't make a person religious. Unfortunately it seems to be a socially acceptable cover for bigotry and hatred for far too many people.

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">When this lady saw my reply, she responded to everyone saying "Here's a thought, Arlene. Does this man watch your kid so you can have a break? Why should you be responsible for his kid and being sure he gets a break?"</div></div>

You might suggest that she get her nose out of the Old Testament, and try "Do unto others..." and "Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers..." as food for thought. Or even, WWJD?

I agree that if you send a reply, send it to all. As husband was just saying about our old dog growling at our new dog, "It takes a lot of energy to be mean." And it really doesn't cost anything to be nice. I like your idea far better.


Thanks, all. Sometimes I'm just a geek when it comes to social things. Here I was miffed, and wondering "should I be miffed???" Sheesh. I'm old enuf to know that my gut has treated me well....maybe someday I'll listen.

As for a reply, I didn't have to say a thing. Arlene came back in defense of the man. He's a young father, the mom was on drugs, and the dad ditched her some time back (she said things were hairy whlie mom was stil around, tho). The mom is far away hooked up with some other guy and bringing another defenseless life into the world. Since mom's been gone, Arlene has asked this man to watch her daughter while she runs a quick errand or to the store, and he has been willing and glad to help out. She truly feels he's trying, maybe has some of his own things to work thru, and she wants to help him and his little girl.

Ms. Bible Verse, who had also said "give him a break for what? So he can drink some more or bring another woman into his home", changed her tune a little, then quickly rambled on about the updates on her myspace page.

I just did a little research. I didn't find any more than her 2 verses in the Bible that tells you to stay out of your neighbor's home, but I counted upwards of 10 places that it said to love and help your neighbor. Certainly not scientific research, but I felt a little better about being miffed. LOL


hearts and roses

Mind Reader
It sounds like Arlene asked for her friends' thoughts on the matter and she got them. No two people will have the exact same thought and suggestions.

Personally, if a little 5 year old were on my doorstep I'd take her in and treat her like part of my family. She's there for a reason - she's not getting what she needs at home and one day in the future perhaps my children or I will be doubly rewarded with someone's kindness. It costs nothing to be kind to others and when we were kids back in the 70's all the kids spent time at eachother's homes without planning playdates and such. in my opinion, that woman's response was about as UN-Christian as you can get.


Well-Known Member
Here is where I amaze my sister. I just let stuff like this roll right off my back. I figure everyone meant to be nice to me, but they came off wrong. No harm done. I do not take it personally.

I figure even if they did intend to be mean to me, I managed to undo even that horrible intention they had to be mean to me.

My sister can not do this.