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Real issue is that she should drop resentment, or drop friend

Real issue is that she should drop resentment, or drop friend

Q: A longtime friend's child is getting married halfway across the country. This friend and I had a really strong friendship until about five years ago, when she took a job that takes up a lot of her time, in addition to her personal travel and activities. She still considers me a good friend but I've been resentful since then that she has put little time and effort into the friendship (I've let her know this once or twice), other than meeting for a cup of coffee about twice a month. Going to this wedding will be costly but we can afford it. Do I need to go?

Anonymous

A: Nope.

But you might want, for your own sake, to cut the strings of your resentment. Five years ago, your friend presented you with a choice: Accept that her life changed for reasons that had nothing to do with you, or take her career decision personally.

If your choice is the former, then free yourself to enjoy the time she's able to give you. If it's the latter, then quit the coffee charade and save your time for people you do enjoy, and who you feel do appreciate you. Straddling the two sides — meeting for coffee, while clutching your resentment like some kind of friend-proof shield — serves nobody here. Let it go, or let her go, please.

Answering intrusive questions about having more children

Q: I am mother of a 1-year-old boy. It has been one of the most stressful and difficult experiences of my life. My husband and I agree we do not want more children. We love our son more than anything in the world but we know our limitations and are happy having a small family.

However, people are always flooding us with questions about when will we have the next one. When we say we probably will not have any more, they then stress to us how important it is to have siblings for a child. People even insinuate that we are selfish. I have almost gotten to the point where I feel like I have to lie to friends and family and say, "We're not sure yet," to avoid feeling like a horrible person. Why is it such a crime to have one child?

Frustrated with Judgments

A: It's not, of course, as you know — and you also know the only real "crimes" in this scenario are the deep intrusions into your intimate family business.

Unfortunately, at normal conversation speed, it's hard to tell a friendly question from one that packs an agenda. But when you don't care about anyone's agenda but your own, you have the luxury of shrugging everyone off regardless of their intent. People can insinuate whatever they want, and your reflexive response to criticism will be, "Eh. To each his own."

Unless and until you get to that Teflon nirvana of not caring, though, your best bet is to have a shrug-off line handy.

If you fear you won't sound convincing, then try taking yourself off the spot instead by putting your questioners on it: "Huh. Why do you ask?" Fair's fair.

To those who miss the hint and actually justify their personal questioning, you can just say, "Oh, okay," and then ignore their original questions. As with any dance, it gets easier every time.

Real issue is that she should drop resentment, or drop friend 04/27/10 [Last modified: Monday, April 26, 2010 11:33pm]

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