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Was I rude? Did I do something wrong?
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sirel




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Jun 02 2020, 6:10 am
I reconnected with an old friend with whom I haven't been in touch for a very long time. Probably about 10 years.

as we were schmoozing, I asked her where she sends her kids to school and she told me , I was surprised because it's a litvish cheder.

I said "Aren't you chassidish"? because I remembered clearly that she was.
She mumbled something and said, "not really". and there was an uncomfortable moment.

Did I ask a rude question?

I felt so bad, but I really wasn't sure what I had done wrong. Is it a personal thing, to ask someone if they're chassidish? 

I get that things can change over time, should I have assumed that they did?


Is it right to apologize for this? Or just ignore and go on.
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imasinger




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Jun 02 2020, 6:17 am
Maybe not rude, but not as diplomatic as you might have wanted?

If you had it to do over again, what would you have said to her when she told you which school her kids go to?
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WhatFor




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Jun 02 2020, 6:25 am
I don't think I would harp on it because it might make things more awkward. Sounds like she moved from a more chassidish to litvish community, and it could be she got unpleasant feedback from some people, and wasn't sure how you would react.

It's past that point now but next time maybe just showing support when she says something about it so she knows you're not judging ("I'm glad you found the right yeshiva for your family.")

I don't think you were necessarily rude to ask that in the moment. Sure, as we sit here and write/read about it, we're able to think about it, and it someone was chassidish sending to a yeshivish school, probably something happened. But it's not always super sensitive to shift communities, and in the moment I think you were surprised and just asked. No need to beat yourself up about it.
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amother




Dodgerblue
 

Post  Tue, Jun 02 2020, 6:50 am
You weren't rude, you just accidentally touched a sore spot. You couldn't have known better though.
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silverlining3




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Jun 02 2020, 6:56 am
Very blunt, though I wouldn't call it rude. You said it's been around 10 years your haven't spoken, you can't possibly know what she went through in these years. You might've have opened old wounds or something.
But we all get caught in shock at times and say/ask things we maybe shouldn't have. It's just instinct response, not meaning bad. Don't think you should dwell over this too deep. Things happen, no-one is perfect
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sirel




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Jun 02 2020, 7:02 am
imasinger wrote:
Maybe not rude, but not as diplomatic as you might have wanted?

If you had it to do over again, what would you have said to her when she told you which school her kids go to?


I would have just continued the conversation the way I did, which was say some nice things about the school. It happens to be a wonderful school.
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gnatan




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Jun 02 2020, 7:49 am
You weren't rude, but maybe not too sensitive to her feelings. I see that its bothering you and if it will be bothering you a lot and in your mind, maybe ask for her forgiveness if you said the wrong thing. And that you wouldn't in your wildest dream try to hurt her
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Amelia Bedelia




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Jun 02 2020, 9:09 am
I don't think it was a rude question. She seems to have been sensitive about it, and how were you supposed to know.
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Chayalle




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Jun 02 2020, 9:19 am
maybe for some reason, the Chassidish yeshiva didn't work out for her child(ren) and that could be a sore topic for her.

I know people who sent kids to schools that weren't a perfect fit for them, for lack of better options, or because their child needed a particular service that that school offered. I myself went to an elementary school as a child that did not work so well for me, but they had a class that worked for my sibling that had LD, and wouldn't take her unless my parents enrolled all of us.
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zaq




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Jun 02 2020, 9:32 am
You weren't rude. Your reaction was perfectly normal, and your question was not intrusive. Look at it this way: if you mentioned to someone that you were sending your kids to a Conservative school, and they said "but aren't you Orthodox?" would you consider that prying? It would be a logical question to ask. Evidently your friend has some issues with her erstwhile chassidus, but you had no way of knowing that. If she were good at thinking on her feet, she could have given some excuse like "we felt the education was better at the litvish school" or "we applied late and the chassidish school was full" but apparently she's not good at thinking on her feet. I think you did her a favor, really--now she knows she needs to prepare some sort of plausible response, because you can't be the only person in the world who will wonder about this.
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Learning




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Jun 02 2020, 9:56 am
It also depends if you are chasidish. Do you think chasidish schools are better?
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Simple1




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Jun 02 2020, 10:23 am
If you didn't press further and moved on with the conversation, then I think you're ok. I've had people touch on sore spots and I understand there's no way they could have known. But I only consider it rude if they dig deeper.

Also I think this is a case of apologizing might make it worse.
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amother




Cerise
 

Post  Tue, Jun 02 2020, 10:29 am
I think when reconnecting to people you haven't been in touch with for a long time, you're bound to make some sort of comment based on what you remember from the last time you knew them well. There's the awkward beginning when you don't really share much, then as you get more comfortable, you might find yourself being a bit more jokey, which can lead to putting your foot in it.
I think that was pretty mild as inappropriate comments go. A comment about 'my memory's going' would smooth over awkwardness.
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Miri1




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Jun 02 2020, 10:36 am
Don't belabor it. I don't think you did anything wrong, but it's possible that if you had been more prepared you might have skirted around it.
Obviously there is more to it, and having not spoken for 10 years... who knows and bringing it up again would be intrusive.

To many people school is school.
But to some it could reflect learning issues, special needs, social issues, shalom bayis, financial.... so a question about school choice could be uncomfortable.
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zaq




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Jun 02 2020, 10:38 am
It was hardly an inappropriate question. Suppose you had been out of touch with someone for ten years. On reacquainting yourselves, you ask her how's her mom (she died), her husband (they divorced ), and her son (he's in jail). Answering may be awkward and painful under the circumstances, but the question is not inappropriate.
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Miri1




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Jun 02 2020, 2:42 pm
zaq wrote:
It was hardly an inappropriate question. Suppose you had been out of touch with someone for ten years. On reacquainting yourselves, you ask her how's her mom (she died), her husband (they divorced ), and her son (he's in jail). Answering may be awkward and painful under the circumstances, but the question is not inappropriate.



Asking where or asking why?
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Cheiny




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Jun 02 2020, 2:43 pm
sirel wrote:
I reconnected with an old friend with whom I haven't been in touch for a very long time. Probably about 10 years.

as we were schmoozing, I asked her where she sends her kids to school and she told me , I was surprised because it's a litvish cheder.

I said "Aren't you chassidish"? because I remembered clearly that she was.
She mumbled something and said, "not really". and there was an uncomfortable moment.

Did I ask a rude question?

I felt so bad, but I really wasn't sure what I had done wrong. Is it a personal thing, to ask someone if they're chassidish? 

I get that things can change over time, should I have assumed that they did?


Is it right to apologize for this? Or just ignore and go on.


Labels are never good,
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zaq




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Jun 02 2020, 6:59 pm
Miri1 wrote:
Asking where or asking why?



There's nothing wrong with asking someone why she chooses to send her dc to a given school. Asking her why she chose to marry her dh, that's a different story.
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OOTforlife




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Jun 02 2020, 7:24 pm
I wouldn't call it rude. You meant well.

But for future reference, you should know to avoid this type of question, where you call out a perceived discrepancy in someone's lifestyle and ask the reason for it.

Sometimes the answer will be totally innocuous, but it's better not to ask the question. Maybe the person drives across town to buy groceries because only that store regularly has dragonfruit in stock. But maybe they drive across town to avoid their stalker ex. Often, when people inconvenience themselves or deviate from a norm, it's for reasons they're less than thrilled about and they would prefer that the deviation go unnoticed.
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seeker




 
 
 
 

Post  Tue, Jun 02 2020, 7:45 pm
In the moment? Not egregious and definitely more awkward to apologize, forgive yourself and forget it.

But if you want a postmortem, consider in the future more open-ended comments. "Aren't you chassidish" does kind of put one on the spot, whereas, "so interesting, I thought I remembered you being more chassidish" gives her more options of how much to elaborate or not.
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