AIBU for being annoyed with my MIL for a genuine complement?

So for some context my MIL, FIL, and BIL are all doctors. They are very intelligent, well educated and capable people. But when it comes to practical around the house things they are pretty helpless. Its also semi-relavent that they are in good health and not physically restricted in anyway.

Now I dont hold that against them they work a lot of hours in a very demanding field its not exactly surprising that “learn to patch drywall” didnt make it to the top of the priority list.

I have a masters degree myself and work in a pretty technical field working on a computer so Im not exactly blue collar myself. But as a hobby I do alot with my hands. Ive posted some things Ive built here. So I am more than happy to help out with whatever little projects they have.

This specific instance happened last weekend but its an example of something of a trend. My inlaws had a small tree die beside their driveway. And asked me to come take it down. I went over with a sawzall cut it down and stacked it up for heavy trash. Start to finish took less than 30 minutes no big deal.

What bothers me is how much my MIL goes on and on about it. Bragging about how great it was I did that and how amazing it is etc. Frankly it comes across as incredibly patronizing almost like how you get really excited and cheer when a small child ties their shoes for the first time.

Especially when her and my BIL are discussing some new surgical procedure hes performed or some such and she just nods along, but for me switching out an outlet she will act like I just invented cold fusion. It just really seems like she thinks intermediate DIY is more than she ever thought I was capable of.

Ive talked to my wife and she says the complements are genuine since they really dont have any DIY knowledge. But they are smart people with access to YouTube so I still have my doubts and its making me hesitant to do anymore projects in the future.

AIBU for being annoyed/ not wanting to help in future?

Well, not being handy at all myself, I, for one, can very well imagine that for her, patching drywall/removing a dead tree/whatever DIY project really seems much more complicated than it is, while discussing surgical procedures is just run of the mill talk.

Can you just tell her that her constant, overly flattering praise annoys you?


Ive tried mentioning it to her in the past that things werent that big of a deal and she didnt need to make such a production of it. She nodded along but then did it again with the next project.

Shes also done things in the past like when discussing a friend of theirs thats a cardiovascular surgeon turned to me in the middle of dinner and gone “cardiovascular means it has to do with the heart” that make me feel like me not being in medicine is to her a sign of me lacking intelligence.

1 Like

There’s a difference between “Really, it’s not a big deal” and “Listen, I feel you are patronizing me with all this praise for something that’s really not that difficult”, though.
That cardiovascular thing might mean, among many other things, that she thinks those not in the medicinal field have 0 knowledge about Latin terms, but I concede that it can indeed, also mean that you’re just “dumb muscle” to her. I don’t know her, so I can’t tell.


I hope she genuinely is happy and proud about the work you do. For her, it’s rocket science.
However, if it bothers you, it bothers you. And I can understand why. As suggested, really talk to her that t bothers you and that you prefer if she dials it down.


As the others have said, if it bothers you then that’s fair. However I for one do find that kind of thing very impressive. Now I don’t go around repeatedly praising and bragging about others over it, but if I were the sort who did that with people in general then I probably would consider anything like that to be worthy of it.


I get it. For me, that sort of over the top praise makes it seem disingenuous. A simple “thanks so much! I really appreciate it” is enough. It might be something she doesn’t know to do - or even know where to start learning how to do - but by being overly enthused it makes it seem like she’s genuinely surprised anyone can do it at all. At a certain point part of me would wonder if it’s sarcastic.

The only fix is to maybe put it in terms she could understand: “How would you feel if a nurse says ‘thank you, you’re amazing, this is great’ for every time you put a bandaid on a patient, even though it’s a super simple job? Please, in the future a simple thank you will do. No need to overdo things with the praise”

I find explaining things in ways they can comprehend from their experience helps, along with mentioning how something makes me feel. It can also help to add in that you believe their intent is good, but regardless you wish they would stop.


This topic was automatically closed 30 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.