We Just Disagree

Friend A makes a comment.

Friend B disagrees with the comment.

Should Friend B tell A why they disagree?

Or should B just remain quiet and not rock the boat?

There was a time when I wouldn’t hesitate voicing my opinion if it didn’t align with something that was said. Now, with my friends, I often wonder when and if I should speak up.

People have become, let’s just say, sensitive about their opinions… People have stopped being friends because of opinions. People have said harsh words to others because of opinions.

Has the age of polite discourse ended? Does everyone see their opinion as fact, and therefore unmovable? Do we regard those who think differently than ourselves as stupid?

Let’s take a step back:

Perhaps we need to reevaluate…

How do we relearn how to have a discussion with someone who has a different viewpoint than our own?

  1. When someone makes a statement that you don’t agree with, take a breath. Do not react or say something right away. A discussion is not a contest to see who responds the quickest.
  2. Ask why the person thinks that way. Sometimes you have to walk in someone’s shoes in order to understand why they made the statement. Do not assume the backstory. Find out your facts first. You may have heard a conclusion that took the person a long time to come to.
  3. Don’t assume the person is stupid, non educated, or anything else. Assumptions, stereotypes and judging all hide under the same banner.
  4. Listening means listening. It means taking in the words that the other is saying. It does not mean holding your breath and thinking about your possible responses. Try to understand what the person means.
  5. If you choose to state your differing thoughts, do so in as calm a manner as possible. Remember, this is someone you presumably have some sort of relationship with, or know someone who does. Treat them with the respect with which you wish to be treated.
  6. Remember, you do not have to air your opposing opinion. There are no points for arguing with someone. You make the decision whether or not you wish to engage or continue with the discussion.
  7. If you choose to say your opposing viewpoint, keep in mind as to your goal. Do you just want to show them a different opinion to give them food for thought? Or are you trying to change their mind?
  8. Ask yourself if your mind would be changed if you made the statement first and the other chose to argue the point with you. If nothing would change your thoughts, why do you think the other person will change theirs?
  9. Do you want to discuss something? Or do you just want to prove that you are right and they are wrong?
  10. Are you trying to take the moral high ground? And if your goal is to take the moral highroad, are you really accomplishing this by arguing a point?

I know that I do not always follow my own rules. Ok- I almost never follow my own rules. However, when I am in what is supposed to be polite conversation, I am going to try to think before I speak.

Most of the time anyway…

I Miss You

Pet Peeve time:

I hate it when people ask me if I miss my daughter while she is at college.

What does it mean to miss someone?

Let’s talk a little about me…

I love my daughter very much. I also feel that she loves me very much. When you are secure in the to and fro of a relationship, you don’t really feel the “missing” because it’s just a part of your heart. I don’t really “miss” her because she is always with me in spirit.

I also text/facetime/talk to my daughter almost every day. I know everyone out there is going to have an opinion about this. Some will say I’m not allowing her to spread her wings. Some will say I’m being over protective. Some will be jealous of my relationship. Some will think it’s nice that we connect when we can. For the record: don’t care what anyone thinks- this is how our relationship has evolved up to this point. I’m sure as time goes on it will evolve further, but I’m all for letting things happen organically.

What do we talk about you ask?

Sometimes it’s practical. She texts that she received a package. I call because I’m having trouble resizing a JPEG that I need to attach to something. She asked me to read over an review she wrote for the paper. I give her updates about her grandfather.

Sometimes it’s fun- she calls to tell be about a sorority party. I call to discuss a movie I just saw. We text each other pictures from the Met Gala…

Can you really miss someone you talk to almost everyday?

Chew on that for a moment…

You know why else I don’t completely get this question?

In a world where Zoom took over our lives- do we still need to be physically present with someone in order to not miss them?

I guess if we are discussing pet peeves I must add that I hate Zoom and doing things where I have interactions over a screen with more than one person. What am I saying? Even one person. I can facetime with my daughter because we are easy going about it. I walk around the house, I make tea, I put things away while I am on the phone with my daughter because we just kind of go with the flow. I don’t know how many others would be this easy going about my laissez faire video calls.

Now I know you’ve enjoyed learning about some of the things that I don’t like- but we will return to the original question:

When you say you “miss” someone, what do you mean?

What are the things that make you say you miss them?

What do you miss about them?

When is the last time you told someone that you missed them, and what was the who, what, when, where and how of it all?

The Parent/Adult Child Relationship

I’ve been wondering how to navigate the relationship between my daughter and I as she forges on into adulthood.

As luck would have it, I know someone whose Mom came up to town from Florida last week. As I watched their dynamic, I knew that I had the basis that I needed to start creating a better relationship with my own daughter…

  1. When you arrive at your daughter’s house, get mad that your daughter was working when you got there. Tell her explicitly that she should have been at the front door waiting with literal open arms.
  2. Complain, again, about the “no shoe’s in the house policy” that your daughter has. Repeatedly scoff at the suggestion of house slippers, because house slippers are stupid.
  3. Complain that your grandchildren are at school. What’s more important after all- algebra II or being there for your grandmother
  4. Remind your daughter all the things you did for her while she was growing up
  5. Tell your daughter that she doesn’t treat you with respect
  6. Cry that she treated her own mother so much better and she wants you to treat her as she treated her Mom
  7. start yelling at your daughter because your daughter doesn’t cater to your every whim
  8. Tell your daughter that she’s a despicable spoiled brat
  9. Call your son and tell him that she can’t stand his sister and she has to leave that very moment because she can’t spend another minute in the house
  10. Curse at your son because he dares to say that he will call her a car service- a good son would rent a car and drive over and pick up his Mother
  11. Remind both your children that they don’t respect you
  12. Tell your children about how you worked to support them and without her you would have nothing
  13. Spend so much time talking about a gift that you gave, that the daughter hands you a check for the amount of the gift because no gift is worth it being thrown back in your face a million times
  14. Ask why they treat their Father, her ex, so much better than they treat her, because he was despicable.
  15. Give a birthday toast that doesn’t say anything about your daughter, but tells all the sacrifices that you made for your children

Do you understand why this example showed me exactly how to further my relationship with my daughter?

Parents.

What would we do without them…

Careful

Once upon a time there was a couple. Person A was extremely competent and pragmatic. A doesn’t own many things, but when A makes a purchase, much thought goes into it. A tends to keep their things in good working order and generally takes care of them.

B, the partner of A, is not really a buyer either, and doesn’t generally think about what are good things to have. B is not great at taking care of the things in their possession.

One day B had to go into the office with their computer. B does not have a laptop bag, so B asked to borrow A’s.

So A lent B the bag. The bag that took A a month to find, because it is black and slimline and has just the right amount of pockets, has an outer folder pocket and was very inexpensive at Burlington Coat Factory.

The day that B borrowed the laptop bag was one of substantial rain. When B was leaving the abode, B picked up the first available umbrella, which was A’s.

A is very particular about umbrella’s. A likes a mini size because it’s easier to carry. A chooses to have a manual open umbrella because in this case, size is more important to convenience. A get’s a very specific umbrella from Amazon.

B had no idea where their umbrella was, so just grabbed A’s…

B had a French dip sandwich for lunch that day. A French dip is basically a roast beef with au jus on the side.

Au jus, in this case, comes in a Styrofoam container with an ill fitting plastic lid.

B decided to bring home leftover sandwich and au jus.

In the laptop bag.

Guess what happens next?

If you guessed au jus spills all over everything in bag you get a hearty handshake and a pat on the back. The author of this tale doesn’t have the funds to actually give away prizes to everyone who knew that was the answer…

So the laptop bag, and all it’s contents smell like roast beef…

Do you want to walk down dog filled streets with a bag and an umbrella that smell like meat?

No amount of Fabreze cloth spray is going to cover that scent. And you can’t throw a laptop bag and an umbrella in the wash.

A knows. A tried.

So A now keeps their possessions under lock and key. A left the key on B’s shelf because A knows that B would never look for it there.

And they lived happily ever after

I Don’t Want Kids

Scenario One:

Two people meet. They fall in love. They decide that they both really want to have kids. They may or may not live happily after.

Scenario Two:

Two people meet. They fall in love. They decide that they both DON’T want children. They may or may not live happily after.

Scenario Three:

Two people meet. They fall in love. One wants children. The other doesn’t. Then what happens?

Let’s play with scenario three for a second.

You and your significant other get along great except for this one nagging little detail. You don’t agree on children.

  1. Do you break up with the person?
  2. Do you go along with the wishes of the other because your love is too pure and you’re not leaving your soulmate over this?
  3. Do you spend your life convincing the other person of your side and coerce them into doing what you want?

Scenario Four:

Two people meet. They fall in love. They both decide they don’t want children. After being together for X years, one of them changes their mind and decides they want children.

What happens next?

Everyone is entitled to change their mind. We all grow and change and whatever. But what if you change your mind about a big thing? Whether or not you have a child is a big thing.

  1. Do you split with the person because you really want a child and they don’t?
  2. Do you coerce your partner into doing something that they don’t want?
  3. Do you trick your partner into having a child?

Should anyone be forced to have a child if they don’t want one?

Raising a child is a lot of work. Having children is a certain lifestyle. I completely understand why someone wouldn’t want to have a child.

Having a child is a wonderful experience. It’s a different path, but worth the time and effort and money. I completely understand why someone would want a child.

I get both sides.

But what do you do if you and your partner aren’t on the same page?

So What do You Think About…

Let’s go hypothetical.

You are about 28 years old. Have a job on a path to a career. You are content with your life.

One day you go to a party and meet a person. You and the person hit it off and decide to go out on a date.

After your first date, you think you can envision a future with this person.

Yay for you! You found a person!

Maybe.

When do you start bringing up the “important” questions?

2nd date?

5th date?

What do I mean by important things?

  1. political leaning
  2. religion
  3. where you want to live
  4. long term goals
  5. children

I’m sure there are a bunch of other things, but you get the idea of what things I consider important, things that could impact a future relationship.

Do you talk about these things, future type things at the beginning of a relationship, when things are fresh? Do you risk losing the person because you are “moving too fast”?

Do you wait and risk being in love with someone, only to find out that you have irreconcilable differences on things that matter?

How do you know when it’s the right time to bring up tough subjects?

or

Do you just avoid discussing them?

Discuss…

Anger Issues

I’m going to tell you a story about something that happened in May. To be clear, I have not been stewing about this since then. I write post ideas in my planner, and I am months ahead. This post has been scheduled since May but I’ve pretty much forgotten about it. Until today, where I relive it for your benefit.

So we were going on vacation. Turks and Caicos. Which in this instance meant we were flying there.

Airports have security.

I do not mind doing security because, even though it’s a pain, I’m doing it for the safety of everyone else.

However…

It is a travail…

We get to the security portion of our trip through JFK. I read the sign that says laptops must be in their own bin. Ipads must be in their own bin. Shoes must be off (this is where safety and safety collides a bit…)

As I have a carry on containing ipad and laptop and I am wearing shoes, I am slow and methodical to get this all right…

Which I do…

And as I am going through the body scanner I hear security yelling “Who has the ipad? Who has the ipad?”

I try to raise my hand as I’m getting scanned…

Security guard is yelling at me now…

Why am I being yelled at?

Because my Husband in his infinite wisdom put things ON TOP of my ipad, like I was trying to hide the ipad.

The anger I had at that moment…

In normal times it’s hard to navigate security at an airport. In COVID times it’s ten times harder…

And as the Mom and the Wife- you know my journey to the trip was vastly different than that of my daughter and husband…

So all I could think was there was my Husband…not reading signs…not listening to me when I’m talking about reading signs…trying to rush through things…

And I’m getting reprimanded…

Side note: I am a good girl. I don’t break rules. I don’t like getting yelled at. I proceed with caution with just about everything…

This is not the best way to start a vacation…

I was mad at security, mad at the procedures we now have to go through…MAD AT MY HUSBAND…

It’s like seven in the morning at this point which means I’ve been up since 5ish…

When we got inside security I had to sit at a separate table from my Husband because I was SO ANNOYED….and we had the next five days to spend together…

Deep breaths, calming tea…bleh to all that. Sometimes you just have to be angry. And then let it go.

My the time we boarded I was fine…

What’s the moral of this story?

Read the signs. Listen to them. Don’t try to take a shortcut. Don’t rush.

That’s all I got…

What’s The Lesson

A few months ago, my daughter and I got into a fight.

As many mother/daughter fights go, I can’t remember what we were fighting about. I also know that we were a tad nasty to one another.

When I left the house to errand/walk dog, I was still annoyed with her and she was annoyed with me. We usually say “love you” to one another when we part, but this time I know we didn’t.

We were exasperated with one another.

Now, you may remember a few months ago I told you that I was out walking the dog and I witnessed a man get hit by a van.

Well, that incident occurred on the day that she and I had our fight.

So after I returned home from errands, my daughter flew out of her bedroom and hugged me and told me how sorry she was.

See, my daughter has that “Citizen” app on her phone and saw the notice that a pedestrian was hit by a van in the neighborhood that I was going to. She knew I would be in close proximity of the accident and she got worried that it had been me.

So what’s the moral?

I guess there’s different ways you can look at this:

  1. Don’t fight over stupid things
  2. Never leave a loved one on an angry note
  3. You never know what the future holds for you

I’m sure there are a few other lessons and tidbits from this.

What do you think is the greatest lesson that we learn from this situation?

Let’s Hang Out

Now that we are all starting to have in real life social happenings…

I went to dinner with friends the other day- had a wonderful time. Great conversation. Lots of laughs. Always have fun with this couple. Totally enjoyed myself and look forward to seeing them again soon.

Last weekend went out with two couples. Day was nice. Nice. Is nice a great description though? Do you really want someone to say that it was a “Nice” time? Or do you want to use a better adjective? Is “I had a nice time” just another way to say that you were bored 75% of the day?

When you go out with friends, how do you want to describe the outing?

I don’t need the outing to be “Epic”. I am not an “epic” person. I don’t do “epic”. No one is ever going to spend an evening with me and say that it was the best night evvvvvver. I am never going to wake up somewhere that I didn’t intend to. I am never going to look at my wrist and wonder why I have a wristband on. There is never going to be an unexplained tattoo on my body…

So what words do I hope I say after spending time with friends?

  • pleasurable
  • entertaining
  • amusing
  • lively
  • hilarious
  • intellectually stimulating

So now you know my goal. No body art. Plenty of conversation.

But what makes it a “pleasurable outing”?

What is the difference between a “nice” time and a “great” time?

Think back to the last time you were with friends. I realize that for some of you this is over a year ago… What makes time with friends so special?

I know that I have a much better time with old friends. The couple we went out to dinner with we’ve known a long time. There’s a shorthand to old relationships. We know one another’s opinions on things- we can build onto the existing relationship. We know what topics to avoid. We know how far we can “push” one another. We know what makes our friends laugh. I am going to see my oldest and closest friends in a few weeks. To say that I am excited is an understatement. I guess there is a feeling of relaxation with old friends- they know your secrets. They were probably there for some of them. I think that when I am relaxed and feel safe I can have a much better time.

So, for me, familiarity does not breed contempt. Familiarity allows me to be me. When I am “Me” I have a much better chance of having a lively time.

But what are the other variable that go into having an “entertaining” evening or outing?

Conversation?

An activity?

Everyone being equally invested in the outing?

The last time you were out with people other than your immediate family, what made the excursion good or bad? Boring or exciting? Lively or dull?

What makes a for a good social interaction?

Does alcohol need to be involved for a group outing to be successful?

How do you define having a good time?

Obligation

My sister lives across the country. When she comes to visit, she stays with my parents. This is not an unusual family situation- out of town relatives often stay with one another.

But…

My sister and my parents have diametrically opposite views on just about everything. I mean really, everything…

And when my sister comes to town, they verbally spar. They verbally spar about 90% of the time. When my sister came to town a few months ago, her plane landed about 6pm. By 9am the next day she was already texting me about the arguments…

I understand my sister’s point of view. She is just trying to be herself. She loves our parents, wants to see them, yet…

My parents are not always easy to get along with…

And some of my sister’s ideas on life are a bit out there…

I clearly understand both sides in this situation.

I understand the cross words and raised tempers.

I just wish that all of them could be quiet sometimes.

I understand the need to get one’s point across. I understand wanting to be heard and not wanting to be marginalized. I understand that we are all allowed to have our own opinions. I get that opinions can never be wrong.

But…at the end of the day…my sister visiting is a lot of grief for everyone. I don’t know if my sister or my parents are actually happy during the visits. I receive calls from both sides…complaining…

I am very stressed out when my sister visits because I hate to be in the middle. I hate trying to broker peace.

So my question is thus:

If a visit to family causes angst, should you visit?

Do you continue the visits out of a sense of obligation? Out of trying to assuage guilt?

Is there a time when you shouldn’t visit your family?

Which regret is worse: not seeing your family because you drive one another crazy or feeling bad that you don’t see your family?

Discuss: