General Question

wundayatta's avatar

How would you feel if your significant other corrected you in front of good friends?

Asked by wundayatta (58349 points ) October 18th, 2010

Of course, all these situations are different, so I don’t know if you have any analogous experiences. My wife and son and I were sitting at a table at a restaurant maybe six of us around a round table. My wife was on my left and my son on my right.

I had taken a few minutes to check on something on my phone, which generated a few comments, such as one friend complaining that people paid more attention to their phones than to real people. In any case, there was something I felt I needed to know right then, and I told myself it would only be a moment.

Then I heard one of my friends saying something about an event that had occurred earlier, and I jumped in to say, “I was wondering about that…” My wife interrupted me to say ”[friends name] was talking and you need to let her talk. You interrupted her.”

I was wrong, of course, so I shut up, but I felt totally embarrassed, disrespected and diminished. I sat there fuming, and later on there was a bigger scene (which I have never done before in public), when she asked me why I was angry.

My wife has done this occasionally at home, but this was the first time ever in public. My feeling is that she should have done it silently—kicking me under the table, or even, if she had to say it out loud, say “so-and-so was talking.” Like information, not telling me what to do.

Have you ever been in a situation similar to this? How would you feel? Would you feel completely shamed in front of your friends? Like you were a child? Or are you more evolved, and able to see beyond the immediate event? How should things like this be handled?

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38 Answers

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I’d feel like pummeling him to death ;)

john65pennington's avatar

If you were wrong, you were wrong. if the shoes fits, etc.

You are not alone in the man world of mistakes. i have been corrected and i have corrected my wife in public. its just another part of being soulmates. you forgive and forget and remember the big picture of your marriage and don’t sweat the small stuff.

Your friends will get over it. they consider you two to be happily married and happily married couples do this.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

If they’re truly my good friends, I wouldn’t care. I’d just laugh it off. But I don’t know, I don’t think Alex would ever say such a thing.

bob_'s avatar

Oh, I’d be pissed, alright, but then you take a deep breath and that’s that.

If she were to do that frequently, then that’d be a different story.

cookieman's avatar

Depends on who we’re with. Really good friends or family? Not a problem.

Acquaintances or work friends? I’d be annoyed.

YoBob's avatar

It has happened, and frankly it made me angry. It’s not that I mind being corrected. It’s just that in the instance that comes to mind the general tone of voice had the implied “you f*ing moron” attached to it, and it wasn’t as though the item in question was anything particularly critical or important. It is as though the goal was call me down rather than to make any sort of really meaningful correction.

However, I’m not really sure what made me more annoyed, being corrected in front of friends, or the fact that I would look like even more like an ass if I stood up for myself at that particular moment in time.

Of course, at the end of the day if we were keeping score I’m sure I’ve pissed her of at least as much as she has done so to me over the years.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@john65pennington -Yes,yes I am.
There comes a time and place for lectures on good manners….and it’s after you throw them to the floor and make them cry. XD

marinelife's avatar

Your wife should not have said that in public, but you should not have interrupted the speaker nor should you have been on your phone in the group.

Your carrying anger and lashing out at your wife was bad.

You need to ask her not to publicly correct you when the two of you are alone and not angry.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Austinlad's avatar

I don’t think being with good friends has anything to do with it. She was rude to you—unnecessarily I think. Why should she be less courteous to you than to the others? As you said, she could have directed her criticism to your in a more private way. You probably need to express your feelings to her about this.

Brian1946's avatar

Your question intrigues me because I was “your wife” in a similar situation. ;-)

I was listening to a friend of ours and my wife interrupted her.
I said, “Wife, friend was talking so please let her finish.”.
My wife halted her interruption and I didn’t sense any anger from her.

There were numerous times in the past when my wife had interrupted me and I asked her to let me finish what I as trying to say, so the incident with our friend didn’t take her aback.

However, I have acknowledged to her that I understand the conversational dilemma of the person talking wanting to finish what they’re saying and the need of the interrupter to interject their thought before they forget it.

I’ve corrected my wife many times and I’m actually thankful for when she corrects me, because that way I don’t feel that there’s a significant imbalance in that part of our relationship and I feel like less of a domineering jerk.

trailsillustrated's avatar

all the time. but mine corrects the facts, cutting me off with all the ‘correct’ details —-meh whatever I’m so over it—

funkdaddy's avatar

“why did it bother you? and why couldn’t you let it go?”

seems to be the heart of the issue, no?

ucme's avatar

Wives have this secret weapon they like to employ when we least expect it. Maybe you slighted her in some long forgotten, to you trivial way. They brood you know. Remembering, waiting for the oppurtune moment to strike. Leaving you eyes a popping, head swivellingly flumaxed. It’s a gift, it truly is. Beware wives, they’re sometimes not always as they seem…....dun dun dun!!

Kardamom's avatar

I think there were a lot of people doing something wrong in this situation. First, you were wrong to take/make a call while you were dining with other people, unless it was a dire emergency. What you should have done was excuse yourself from the table and make/take the call in the hallway away from others, or outside. Secondly, your friend was wrong to say OUT LOUD (although she was correct in her thought) that people pay more attention to people on the phone than they do to live people in front of them. And thirdly, your wife was wrong to admonish you publicly (even though her thought was also correct that you were interrupting) and she should have quietly and thoughtfully said something to you later.

This is a situation in which nobody did anything on purpose to be bad, rude or insulting, but because nobody gave enough thought to what they were doing at the actual moment, it resulted in a lot of rude and incorrect behavior. Sorry you and your wife got into such a big row afterwards. You sound like a nice guy.

BarnacleBill's avatar

You lost me at what you could absolutely positively have to know right at that very minute that was more important than the people you were with. Could your wife’s behavior be triggered by you putting out rude vibes first?

wundayatta's avatar

@BarnacleBill I don’t remember, but it probably had to do with results of a playoff game.

@Kardamom It wasn’t a phone call, but a little web surfing, which I was doing originally because there was a question at the table and I was looking up an answer, but then, I took it a little further afield. Sigh.

Oh. We have couples counseling tonight, and this is sure to be a major topic of discussion.

Sigh.

CMaz's avatar

Would give me a reason to tie her to the bed and flog her.

Always a win win situation.

BarnacleBill's avatar

It probably escalated from that, then. She should not have done that, but you should not have made checking a score on your phone more important than paying attention to the people you were with. I know with my kids, when we’re having dinner, and I’m trying to talk to them, and they’re busy with their phones, I get really pissy with them pretty quickly. Having access to information, and evoking that access is one of those things that can push the buttons of those around you, without realizing it.

But two wrongs don’t make a right, and she should not have done that. The only one that should have asked you not to interrupt is the person you were talking over, if it bothered them.

perg's avatar

She could have given you the same message in a less demeaning way – maybe just playfully and with a smile saying something like, “Well, sweetie, if you’re wondering about it, let her finish telling it!” That said, she may have already been PO’d because you were putzing around with your phone, which annoyed the table to the point that others remarked on it. Maybe SHE was “completely shamed in front of [her] friends” by you ignoring the conversation and then suddenly barrelling into the middle of it inappropriately. And when she asked you why you were fuming, you should have said, “Let’s talk about it later” instead of sharing the love with your dinner companions. Anyway, please don’t invite me out to dinner.

picante's avatar

Sounds like there was a general relaxation of etiquette with close friends. That happens.

I have been on both sides of this scenario—both the corrector and the correctee. In each situation, there was certainly no intent of inappropriateness or rudeness, and when I was the “wife,” I actually interrupted my SO because I felt he was being rude. Sounds like your wife did the same. If her words in your description are verbatim, they are a little harsh—though certainly there are harsher things to say. I would probably have tried a more light-hearted approach.

And when I was the “husband,” my SO was correcting me for exactly the same reason.

And it’s good you have something to talk about tonight in couple’s counseling. Good luck!

Aster's avatar

I told him if he ever spoke like that again I would kick his leg as hard as possible. Of course, I wouldn’t but I’ve been tempted. He says, “you dont know what you’re talking about” in front of others, sometimes strangers, about 3 times total and if he catches me on a bad day I have to do something. It’s just showing off.

Zyx's avatar

Sexy.

I’ll put this sentence here to make this answer more than a single word and to indicate I am in fact serious.

n33k0luv's avatar

Of course, I would generally feel berated and like a child. It would make me angry too. It’s okay that it does, though. The issue is that she did that to you in front of others. Really, doing this to you at all is belittling and tends to show disrespect towards you as a person, imo.

What I would do about it is take some time to cool off, think about the issue, and when you are able to talk to her coherantly and present the issue, do so. Make sure you have time to talk it out and that you are both calm. But I think it needs to be brought up if it happens more than just once especially. Sometimes people don’t realize just how controlling or belittling they are being, and when it happens with someone you are close to it hurts a lot more. So just make sure you give her your feelings on the matter. I think it will help. If you have a suggestion, maybe like her kicking you under the table subtley, that might help too. Suggestions are always more helpful than just presenting an issue without a possible solution. (Although physical abuse is never really a good thing, the kicking.)

I hope that helps.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Shouldn’t the request to not interrupt come from the speaker? I’ve heard people in the middle of a story get interrupted, and their polite reply was, “Yes, and I’ll get to that in a second”, or in your case, “Good! So you know how I felt when…” and pick up their story. I suspect most people would be embarrassed by being corrected in public.

As for you wife, who knows what the driving factor to her publicly chastising the behavior. Hopefully, she will tell you if the concern is presented in a manner that doesn’t put her on the defense. The ol’ “When this was said, it made me feel this way” works well. If not, hopefully the counselling session will bring it out.

On a side note: there are a fair amount of people who are offended by someone jumping on a phone or the internet while in a setting where their undivided attention should be given. I’ve learned to either turn it off or communicate to the group what I am doing, like take an expected important call or looking something up pertinent to the conversation.

Facade's avatar

I think your wife was being a bit uptight in that situation. It sounded as though she was scolding a child.
I can imagine I’d feel the same as you if my boyfriend did that to me, although I can’t imagine he would.

El_Cadejo's avatar

If I was wrong, why would I be upset about her correcting me? I think itd be pretty fucking annoying if she had to just bite her lip and let me misspeak in front of my friends just for the sake of not letting me be corrected. Hell Id rather be told I was wrong and let my statement be amended then look like a jack ass saying something that was incorrect.

skfinkel's avatar

Is there any place for humor in this situation—where it all doesn’t have to be so incredibly serious? It’s just a night out, and you were not really paying all that much attention anyway, and she was annoyed, maybe, and wanted to embarrass you—maybe you were embarrassing here with your time on your phone. In any case, humor, it seems to be, could diffuse this whole thing, and make your life a lot less filled with senseless misery and grief.

chyna's avatar

I like the way @skfinkel would handle the situation, with humor. But I have to say, your wife was probably pissed and embarrassed by you being on the phone ignoring your friends. I can’t say I blame her. I’m so sick of people using their phones and ignoring people who are there with you.

jca's avatar

I think your wife was wrong for what she did, but you were wrong also for checking your phone in front of company. it’s common now for some people to check their phones while socializing, but that does not make it right. the company you’re with should be given your total attention, and checking phones should be done after. i’m sure in your couples’ therapy this will all come out, and as we all know, there are 3 sides to every story.

YARNLADY's avatar

I makes me uncomfortable, but I usually try to talk to him about it later.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I’d be embarassed at myself, apologize to “friend” and silently seethe I was put in a position to feel stoopid. Really though, I grew up in a family and circle of family friends and friends of my own where we were comfortable to check each other so it wouldn’t go too deep.

Trillian's avatar

Well, there are a lot of varying opinions here. I’ve been in both situations myself. My response was embarrassment at my own lack of thoughtfulness. And I apologized to the person I had interrupted. I hate being interrupted myself; I certainly don’t want to be the one who thinks that what I have to say is more important than the speaker. And though I felt a bit unhappy at having my error pointed out in front of everyone, I certainly had had no qualms about doing it in front of everyone, and had to admit to myself that I sort of had it coming.
And I totally agree with @uberbatman that the man/woman is no so sacrosanct that they can’t be corrected in front of a group of friends. For the same reason, he/she committed the faux pas in front of everyone. I also think that the correction is better from the SO than the speaker if the genders are opposite. Don’t ask me why I feel that way, I don’t really know. This is the first time I’ve ever really though it through this far. I don’t want to raise the specter of any other issues here. It just seems better if it comes from the SO than the opposite sex friend. I should not have to tell your husband to not interrupt me, and I don’t want some woman checking my man. I’ll do it.

wundayatta's avatar

Perhaps the worst thing for me was losing it when she asked me why I was angry. I’ve never done that before, but for the life of me I couldn’t figure out why she wanted to talk about it in front of others, so I made one comment, which lead to another, and next thing I know our friends are trying to referee.

The person I interrupted seemed to be trying to defend me by saying that I probably didn’t know I had interrupted her. (She was right about that). Another friend, a guy, said he thought my wife had made those comments “with love.” A third person said that there’s no point in holding things in, You got to deal with them, so express them. Just so you know, the last two people are of an age where they were involved in all the fads of the 60s and 70s—encounter groups, and EST (now known as Benchmark or Fairmark or something like that).

Afterwards, we didn’t talk about it on the ride home or that night or the next day. I felt like we were supposed to talk about it because you’re not supposed to go to bed angry, but I also felt like I needed to cool down.

When we finally did talk, she said what she really didn’t like was me getting angry. She thought I was still angry with her. I told her that I wasn’t angry and for me, it was over and done with – which it was—which is unusual.

Our counseling session is tomorrow night, not tonight. I got confused about what day it was. It should be interesting. Your reflections of this incident are interesting and helpful, too. I feel like I must have been pretty out of it, because using a phone in a social situation is not something I normally would do. I think I was under the impression it was something everyone was interested in.

My feeling is that the person I interrupted could have spoken for herself if she wanted to. In this group, there is a lot of that kind of interrupting that goes on as soon as someone has finished talking and everyone else wants to be the next person to talk. They’re a tough group because everyone has a lot to say.

I also think my wife should have handled it differently – kicking me, or saying something quietly or later that night. But apparently it was a crime so egregious in her book that it required instant intervention to maintain the balance of the earth or some such.

Oh well. This is what a fair number of couples go through. The good thing is that it didn’t bother me the way it might have a few years ago, when I would have thought it was another nail in the coffin that held our marriage. But it isn’t, which is a good sign. It is interesting how people are kind of all over the place on this. I guess that means it’s not a question with an obvious answer.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@wundayatta: Better among friends than in a social gathering of co workers, acquaintances or… kids.

BarnacleBill's avatar

@wundayatta, it sounds like you have a holistic perspective on the situation. Perhaps the next outcome is to work out with your wife how similar situations should be handled going forward, whether it’s a word, or a kick under the table, or “the look” that means zip it. And it should work both ways—what’s applicable for you, should be applicable for her as well.

markylit's avatar

If it’s among some of my really close friends, i won’t even bother. But if it happened in front of other people, it’d be really annoying and sad.

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