Stop Dragging my Heart Around

So….

I’ve been thinking about love- obviously- I wrote two posts about it last week.  And while there are many positive descriptions and feelings about it, and most people enjoy the feelings associated with it, there are plenty of negative associations.  So today, I’m going to talk about the dark side…..

Unrequited love- when one person loves someone, but the feelings aren’t reciprocated.  I once had a boyfriend.  He told me he loved me (ah swoon) and I responded in kind.  His response back was “Well, I hope so.  That’s how it’s supposed to work.”  He wasn’t being flip, but his feeling was that it’s only love if both sides feel the same way.   He felt that one sided love wasn’t love, but delusion, because love is reflective- you give and you get.  We come to the first question of the day:  is it love if it’s only one sided?

I must admit, I think this old boyfriend was right.  How can you actually love someone who doesn’t feel same way?  Sure – there could be really deep feeling….but is that love, or a crush?  If you’re constantly going above and beyond for someone who might not necessarily be doing the same thing, is it love or obsession? ( I know- we’re now starting to get into the tricky what is love area, but I’m not posting quotes today…..)  Love should be about two people sharing mutual feelings- whatever guise that is.

But at least I’ve answered the cheeseburger dilemma, as the cheeseburger does not love me back, so we can safely say that I am obsessed with cheeseburgers….

Now let’s talk about when love ends….break ups and divorce.  How does love so quickly become so devastatingly nasty?  Well, humans can be pretty crappy to one another- I think we know that.  But how can you treat someone you once loved with so much contempt?  Fighting over objects?  Being overly critical in front of your shared children?  But- I often wonder…..were the two people really in love?  (I know, I know- we’re back to the what is love question again- I can’t help it- it’s a vicious circle)

I got married youngish, and I got divorced.  My ex husband was not a good person.  He did some despicable things.  But in hindsight, I don’t think I ever loved him.  I don’t think he loved me either.  I had all sorts of stupid reasons as to why I married him, which are enough for a 3 volume set, so we’re not going to go down that road today….but suffice to say- it probably wasn’t a love match.  Now, when I actually got married I thought I loved him, but my view of love was a bit skewed, and again, all sorts of emotional baggage at work here.  So next point- if people break up, were they really in love to begin with?

What about cheating?  If you love your partner, why would you have an affair?  Sure, sex is sex- I get that-but  If you have an affair, does that mean you don’t love your partner?

So this sort of brings me to my next point- what if you talk yourself into love?  There are many reasons you might do this: you got pregnant, you want to get pregnant, you want to be married…..for whatever reason- you think that you need love to complete a goal…..Now, you might end up with the baby, or the wedding ring, but are you happy?  Should you talk yourself into “love” because it completes your to do list?

I know there are all sorts of love/ physical-emotional abuse things- but I am not qualified to talk about that.  I do not even come close to understanding the dynamics involved in relationships like this, so that subject is off the table.

So thoughts?  Questions?  What did I miss?

I’m very interested in ideas and questions that I don’t think computers can solve- for now anyway- I’m reading the new Dan Brown and am beginning to think that computers will be able to answer everything-  and RIP Tom Petty…..

Peace and love to all!  Well, maybe love.  Depends on how we define it……

 

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What’s Love got to do……….

There were four of them in the dorm room that day- 3 women and 1 guy.  One of the girls, Z was sort of dating the guy, (this was the eighties which meant they weren’t actually sleeping together)- the other two girls were there because they were bored and it was Saturday and not a party in sight.  Suddenly the door burst open and 3 guys entered, their sense of entitlement showcasing the fact that they were upper classmen.

“Hey A” the blonde one yelled “We heard a rumor that you have actual females in here.”

And he looked at her, and she looked at him and the world stopped for just a second.  She didn’t care that she was sort of, kind of dating A.  She actually forgot about him for a second, because all she knew what that she was completely besotted by this slightly older boy wearing a Hawaiian shirt.  As he was with her.

Do you think the kids of today experience this feeling from swiping right?

You know.  Tinder.  If you don’t know- Tinder is an app that apparently highlights available mates in your vicinity.  You scroll through pictures and swipe right on the promising ones, left on the ones you wouldn’t be caught dead with.  (Honestly, I don’t know if this is how it exactly works, so if anyone has a better description PLEASE chime in.  I really strive for accuracy in my blogs about sex)

So basically, it’s internet shopping.  You place people in your cart, try them on, and if you don’t like them, no harm, no foul, free returns.

But does your heart skip a beat by swiping right?

Millennials and Generation Z (kids born in this century) are certainly more tech savvy than their elders.  They are more gender fluid.  They are passionate and care about causes.  But are they missing out on love?

I guess you can ask- does the youth of today care about love?  Should they care about love?

Or are they just happy with sex?

I remember falling in love.  It was the greatest feeling in the world- I would not trade those memories for anything.  But am I a dinosaur?  Has falling in love become a thing of the past?  Is love going to go the way of eight track tapes and VCR’s?

Think about where kids read about love these days?  The Hunger Games- dystopian.  Divergent- dystopian.  Twilight- weird.  Pretty Little Liars- well, I know there was some murder and some stalking and I think characters hooked up……but you get the idea- are there even love stories for this generation?

So- here’s the question:  Is love over?

Discuss.

I’ve Got Some Good Gossip….

For the record- I think gossip is mostly bad.  I try not to engage in it unless it’s about you.  Kidding.  But no, I’m not eavesdropping on conversations so that I can dish about it later.  If I see a friend’s kid doing something that I know his parents won’t like, I don’t rush to tell everyone else.  I try (the optimum word being try) to be as nice to, and about, people as possible.

But…..

Can gossip be good?

Example 1- About 8 years ago I was at girls night.  I had read an article that day about the number of married women who had affairs with their personal trainers.  I went on and on quoting stats, asking what people thought.  I asked if an affair with a personal trainer was just sex, or was it a relationship, or was the woman just seeking comfort, etc.  One woman was kicking me under the table- but I’m slow to take a hint.  After the night, the soccer playing friend texted me- “S is having an affair with her personal trainer.”

Yes, I felt like a moron.  (and yes, I have felt like a moron too many times to count) And the women having the affair was mortified.

And I know that telling someone about another persons extramarital affair would indeed be really big gossip.  But….if a group of women are out, and wine is involved, and these nights usually revolve around complaining about husbands and kids, and I usually pontificate about things….maybe a head’s up would have been nice.   Or maybe I have to be more aware of someone kicking me under the table.  Your call- who’s wrong me, or the woman who was being a really good friend by not telling a secret?

Example 2- Last year I was at a holiday celebration with my Husband’s family.  I innocently said to his Cousin B, “Where’s  K tonight?” (her husband).  Her reply- “Oh.  We separated about 3 months ago.  I thought everyone knew.”

Apparently, not everyone knew.

I went to my Sister in Law- “Did you know that B and K are separated?”  “NO WAY” she replied.  We found my Husband- asked him the same question, and he didn’t know either. Of course, he hadn’t even realized that K was not at the party, and if pressed, I don’t know if he remembered that B was even married…so…..

Then we cornered my Father in Law.

“Did you know B and K were separated?”

“Yes” he responded

“Why didn’t you tell us?”

“I didn’t want to gossip.” he said.

FYI- My Father in law does a lot of borderline ethical/moral things, so it’s funny to see him draw the line at gossip.

But is that even gossip?  Should news like a separation or divorce just be shared grapevine style amongst the relatives?  Did his cousin need to inform everyone individually?

I know that the majority of gossip is bad.  I know that people can really be hurt by malicious spreading of information.  I try to avoid gossip like the plague, both in telling and receiving.

But is there a place for gossip?   Or, should I just get over feeling awkward in a situation when I just didn’t know the situation?

What do you think?

 

Open What?

Open Marriage.

That’s the issue in a book I read last week, “The Arrangement” by Sarah Dunn.  Couple decides their marriage is getting stale, so they set up a 6 month time frame and a list of rules, and decide to give this alternate arrangement a go.

Hmmmm.  What could ever go wrong?

Ok- this is not a book review- this is a lifestyle review.

I don’t think open marriage can/will work.  I don’t think having sex with other people is the way to solve marital issues.  If you want to solve marital issues, you have to identify the issue- then you can solve the problem.  How is having sex with someone else helping you solve a problem?

Oh- you say that lack of sex is the problem?  OK- I get that.  But again, how is sex with someone else helping your actual relationship?

Marriages can get stale.  I understand that.  Life gets in the way.  There are bills and chores and jobs and families and about a million other things.  When you go to bed, these are the things that flash through your mind….is there milk?  did I pay the insurance?  Am I supposed to bake cookies for the bake sale?  I’m supposed to present at the 9am meeting tomorrow- do I know what to say?  You forget about that person that is actually sharing your bed every night- they’ve become your roommate.  Sex?  What’s that?

So what should you do?

I have no idea.

But I am pretty sure that opening up your marriage to others is probably not a great way to start.

Side note- my husband just wandered by, and when I told him what I have been attempting to write about he said…”Oooh that sounds interesting- Do you know anyone hot?”

FYI- not a great thing for a husband to say….especially when his wife is having tremendous writers block.  Also- whenever my husband hears that I’m having writer’s block, he says, “Maybe it’s not a good topic.”  And then at moment’ s like this I think to myself….hmmm, maybe open marriage would be a great idea, except instead of finding a sex partner, I’ll find someone to be more helpful when I’m writing……

But back to the topic at hand:

If you love your partner, and the issues you are having are because you don’t see them in a romantic way anymore…..try to figure out how to see them in a romantic way!  I know- it’s hard- life, blah, blah, blah……

But isn’t it worth it to try to rekindle the passion you once felt for one another?

So- here’s your homework….

  1. Can open marriage work?
  2. Am I old fashioned in thinking that it is not a good idea, or is this the way of the future?
  3. How do you revive a marriage that has become a bit rote?
  4. Would you ever consider open marriage?  If so, would you have rules?
  5. Do you think that if someone suggests open marriage they have an ulterior motive, ie- they already have a partner in mind?
  6. I’ve seen statistics that suggest that less people are actually getting married.  Do you think they are less likely to get married because they want to have the ability to explore their sexuality with multiple partners?
  7. Can something be “just sex” or are emotions going to become involved no matter what? (I think emotions are going to jump in no matter what- how many people equate sex with love?)
  8. Even if you’ve given the green light, is it possible to truly not be jealous? (Seriously- can you really remain detached if you know your spouse is sleeping with someone younger/hotter?)
  9. Do you want your kids to know what you are doing?  (I mean really- kids are smart- they figure out everything we want to hide…..)

I know- I’m a demanding teacher.   Also- writers block!  I need you guys to write for me!!!

Also- I may be taking applications for a muse.  Start working on those resumes……

 

 

The Tale of the School Portraits

In the hallway of the royal palace stood pictures of the young Princess.  A wall filled with 8×10 portraits from school, soccer and softball.  Any visitor to the Palace would be greeted with smiling images, ranging from age 4 to age 14.  The team colors changed, the hairstyles changed, but the face remained constant.

Then the first week of Junior year, the Princess walked into the royal apartment and stated….”Do we really need to have this shrine of me when you walk in the front door? It’s embarrassing.  Why do we even have these pictures up on the wall?”

This was a rather frugal Queen, who had spent good money on all these portraits, so she felt it was well within her rights to display them.  But she also understood that this blatant display of parental pride could be a little daunting to people, and yes, embarrassing to the Princess.  So the Queen took out the royal planner and scheduled time to order a photo album, take down the pictures, unframe them, place them in an album, repaint the wall and hang up different artwork on the wall.  It was rather a long process, but worth it for the happiness of the Princess.

So about 10 days later, the Queen was able to accomplish the first half of the tasks.  Pictures down and organized, frames donated, wall painted.

Princess came home from a long day of school and tennis practice.

“Wherenare my pictures?”  she exclaimed.

“You said they were embarrassing.  I understand why you would feel that way and I rearranged things.”  Queen replied.

“But, but….it’s your house.  You didn’t have to do that.  You’re allowed to hang up anything you want.” the Princess continued.

“I understand why you wanted them down.  So that’s what I did.  It wasn’t a big deal.” (Well, the thought behind taking them down wasn’t a big deal, but you know, the process…..)

“Can you put them back up?”  the Princess asked.

“What?” the Queen exclaimed, trying to remember that she is going to try to be calm in all situations and take a moment. (FYI- this was not working out so well at this moment) “I spent the whole day doing this.  The pictures are already in an album.  I am NOT undoing it.”

“But it’s like all my memories are down and boxed up.  My life was on the wall, in chronological order, and now…it’s blank.”

The Queen went and gave the Princess a hug, kissed the top of her baseball cap.  “your memories are not gone.  They’re in your head, and in my heart.  And they’re now in a photo album on the bottom shelf of the coffee table.”

“So this is Ok?” the Princess said.

“Of course.  Life changes.  We change and grow.  Things can’t always remain static.  And look around, there are still plenty of reminders of you in the apartment.  Your artwork is on the walls, and some projects are on the shelves, and there are still pictures of you, of our family all around.  It’s just a little different.  Change is OK.  Change is necessary.”

And all was right in the royal household.  For a little while anyway.  Remember, the Princess is still a teenager.

 

Take a Minute

Once upon a time, there lived a Queen who tended to react quickly.  A subject would say something, and the Queen would just start incoherently rambling- and these statements were not always Queenlike…….See, the Queen was not good at thinking before she spoke.  What she excelled at was over-reacting.   This got the Queen into a lot of trouble, because we all know words often hurt more than anything, and words said in the course of over-reacting……Oh- they could be ugly.

As the Queen got older, she realized that she should really try to control her tongue.  Yelling at people and saying long, rambling mean statements was probably not in her best interest.  So she began a quest to tame her quick responses- she would try to hold her tongue for 5 minutes before she said anything.  Now, she realized that this might mean cutting her tongue out- but if that was the price she had to pay to be a better person, so be it.  And think of all the good customer service experience she might get if she was just a tad less quick to judge the level of their competence…….

The Queen was taking baby steps.  She tried really, really hard at not spewing venom.  Luckily, nothing had broken in the royal apartment, so she had little interaction with service representatives.  She still freaked out at her Mother- but if you heard the ridiculous things her Mother said, even someone taking a vow of silence would not be able to hold back.

One day, the royal family was eating dinner.  The Queen and the Princess got into a rather heated debate about PSAT preparation and books.  No- they did not argue about studying in general- the Princess is extremely studious.  The argument centered around the quality of the review books- Princess felt the review book in hand was inferior, and the Queen said to just finish the present book and then they would buy another.

What happens when two strong willed women argue?

The Princess used some not very Princess -like language at the Queen.

The Queen was not amused- but she took a deep breath.  She got up and began clearing plates.  (this was a sign- the Queen did not call to the servants to take away the debris from dinner- she did it herself)  The Queen then started cleaning up the kitchen.  She did not utter a word.

After about 3 minutes, the Princess went and hugged the Queen.  She apologized.  A true, honest apology.

So what did the Queen realize?

  1. The Queen would have made the situation a lot worse by yelling or saying mean things
  2. The Princess does not normally act in this manner- this was an anomaly
  3. The Princess is stressed about standardized tests- if saying a not so nice word is her way of blowing off steam, the Queen is OK with it, because there are far more destructive ways to blow off steam
  4. The argument was about PSAT books
  5. The Queen/Princess dynamic is a tough one- the boundaries are always being tested

The Queen begrudgingly admits she’s not perfect…..and knows she will never be perfect.  She just wants to be a slightly better person.

Friend-ex- A Follow-up

Should you be friends with your ex?

That was the question on my mind yesterday.  I got a lot of different opinions, many of them completely contradictory.  But as this is an opinion question, every single comment I received was CORRECT.  NO ONE IS RIGHT OR WRONG.  This is an individual decision.  I did however, come up with a list of things worth thinking/talking about.

  • If children, especially minor children, are involved- it is in the best interest to remain at the very least, friendly.  This might crush you, but you must try.  (Of course, I do not refer to those cases were parents and children can’t be together- I’m speaking in generalities)
  • Both parties must be mature, sensible and rational (As I’m rarely mature, sensible and rational this would leave me out…..)
  • What does the significant other feel, and how much does what they feel matter?
  • There was a reason why you two are no longer together- does this reason make the friend relationship impossible/improbable?
  • How involved was the prior relationship?  Was is a short term thing?  Was it sex buddies? (I’m going for PG-13 here) Were the two of you engaged at what point?
  •   Do both parties truly want to be “just friends”?
  • Would the relationship dynamic be affected if significant others are involved?  ie- would you ever double date?
  • Does having a friendship with an ex signal trouble in your present relationship?
  • Is one person seeking out this friendship because of loneliness?  Now, I realize you look to broaden your social circle when you are lonely, but is friending an ex the best way to combat loneliness?
  • How good was the sex?  Seriously- I think it matters if there was once an insane amount of chemistry.
  • Did Facebook open up a whole can of worms that was probably better closed?

Now- we go to the personal side- mine.

I once had a great relationship with G.  We broke up rather amicably- at the time we were both very career centric, and our careers were taking us on differing paths, and we both felt that the relationship wasn’t as important as our careers.  After reconnecting on facebook 7 years ago, we’ve maintained a cordial relationship.  When I went on vacation to his town a few years ago, I didn’t even think about contacting him.

I am not a jealous sort of person.  My husband has had lunch with his ex-fiancé when she was in town, and dinner with an old girlfriend from high school.  I was fine with it- my opinion is that if I’m worried about him seeing an old flame, I should be worried about him having relationships with any woman.  I make the assumption that our relationship is strong enough to endure friendships with members of the opposite sex.

Out of the 3 exes I mentioned (sorry- I only had 4 significant relationships in my life, so we’re about out of stories) there is one that I CAN NOT be friends with.  I don’t feel I could be friends with someone I know still stays in my heart.  I know I can’t be friends with another because he wants something more from me.

Now G.  Here’s the parts that nag me:

  1. Why did he switch to private message?  Does he not want someone to know that he wants to meet up with me?  Is he afraid that my friends are going to see it and scream “Bad Idea”? (my friends are not particularly open minded about this sort of thing)
  2. Why was my first thought, “Damn he still looks amazing.  Is it possible to lose 1000 pounds and have a facelift by Columbus Day?”  Is it just vanity?  I mean- he hasn’t seen my in awhile….I look OK for 53, but I do have an ego…..

So….I don’t know what I’m going to do.  I don’t even know if he is actually going to end up in  town, or if he will reach out again about meeting up…..But I’m going to think about it…..

And if there is indeed a decision to be made- I’m pretty confident you will be in the loop…..

 

Thanks again for all the amazing feedback yesterday!

 

Friend vs Friendly

I posted a picture of my daughter on Facebook the other day- first day of school.  I got all the likes, the heart reactions, and the comments.  And one of the commenters was an old boyfriend. ( OK- for clarity’s sake, I am now discussing a third ex- this is not the guy I never got over nor the sort of creepy guy that never got over me.  This is the one I’m “friendly’ with.)  And the comments were easy, reflecting that his son is a High School Freshman and my daughter is a junior-how one day they might actually date (not each other- just in general) The rapport was pleasant.

Which brings us to the question:  Can you be friends with an ex-boyfriend/girlfriend, or can you just be friendly?

What do I mean?

When I think of friends, I think of people I can talk things out with.  Or maybe engage in activities with.  I consider a friend to be more intimate than an acquaintance- there is a bond.  Can you have this relationship with an ex?  Should you have this sort of relationship with an ex?

What are pros?

  1. you share a portion of  history
  2. you know what they like, and what they don’t
  3. you know their family, or stories of them
  4. there was a time you liked this person very much, and you may have loved them

Cons?

  1. you share a portion of history
  2. You had sex with this person
  3. you know what they like, and what they don’t like
  4. You had sex with this person
  5. you know their family, or stories of them
  6. there was a time you liked this person very much, and you may have loved them
  7. you had sex with this person

So we’ve established that sexual relations were had.  Can you be friends with someone you had sex with? Maybe if the sex was lousy……but what if it was great?

Wait…..I’m totally digressing……

But does sharing a sexual past preclude you from being friends, destined to just remain friendly?  Will your past history in bed, on the floor, in parking lots, in…….digressing……

Obviously, I think that you can’t really be friends with an ex because you share a sexual history.

We will now resume to the comments from my ex.  He told me he might be in NYC next month with his son.  He suggested we meet up with the kids, maybe go to Museum of Natural History.  But, he did not do this in the public forum, he pm’ed me.  Why would he do that?

Because we’re not supposed to be friends.   Doesn’t matter how long it has been, or how it’s a far distant past.   And engaging in an activity, no matter how “G” rated, is just not what you do.

So, no, we will probably not end up seeing one another.  We will continue to partake in cute banter, commenting on one another’s posts, but that will be the relationship.   I’m ok with that….I realize there are societal constrictions…….I realize that there are all sorts of other things that come into play…..

But should you be able to be friends with an ex?

Discuss-

Parenting Sucks

Do I have you attention?

Back to school brings out many thoughts for school age children.   It also brings out many thoughts for Parents of school age children.  Bad thoughts.  Negative thoughts.

Do you know how many times in the past two weeks I told a parent to cut themselves some slack?  Told them parenting sucks?  Let’s just say- enough times to know I needed to blog about this.

Who told you that parenting would be easy?  I want names.  Because these people should not be allowed to speak if they are going around spreading the lie that parenting is easy.  The last easy moment you had was before you held a child in your arms, or held their hand- before you gave birth or signed adoption papers.  After that- all bets are off.

I know there are billions of parenting books, articles, websites.  I’m pretty sure I have read them all.  But guess what?  There is no parenting book for YOUR SPECIFIC CHILD.  Because every child is unique- they have their own personality traits- a whole bunch of them.  One book may have 1 thing that works for your kid- 1.  Thousands of tips, only one which applies to your child.  A book might not have any tip that helps your child.  None.  You got that?  A book that works for everyone else might NOT work for you.  This does not make you a bad parent.  This does not make your kid a bad kid.  You just need to figure out a different solution.  There is nothing wrong with doing something a different way than everyone else if it works for you and your child.  Got that?  If it works for you and your child it is fine.

You will make mistakes as a parent.

Yes- you will.  No kidding.  No matter what you do, you will make a wrong decision.  And I know this is not intentional.  No one brings a child home and whispers over their bed “I’m going to do everything possible to screw up your life.”  No one.

Own your mistakes.  If you realize you did make a choice that is not working, figure out how to fix it.  I always like the “reverse engineering” approach- look at the desired outcome and figure out what steps you need to get there.  What if you don’t know what to do?  Talk it out with people you trust (not the people who told you parenting was easy- seriously- don’t drink that kool aid).  Seek professional help if you think the situation warrants it.  But don’t sweep it under the rug- bad things have a tendency to snowball.

Communication is probably the most important parenting tip I can share- this one pretty much applies to everyone.  LISTEN to your child.  Comprehend what they are and are not saying.  Talk WITH them, not AT them.  If you feel uncomfortable (yes- lots of people are uncomfortable having deep conversations with their children) talk to them in a setting when you are not facing one another.  Fishing, walking, driving- sometimes when your eyes are focused on something external you might be able to have a more frank discussion. If possible, talk to your child before they go to bed- when people are tired they tend to let their guard down.  Also, your kid might just keep talking because they  don’t want to go to sleep….

Judgement should be found in the court system, maybe at a gymnastics meet, but never at a PTA meeting.  Don’t spend time worrying what other parents think about you.  I’m going to repeat that:  Don’t spend time worrying about what other parents think of you. If you are not going to listen to me on this, I would like a 200 word essay on why you think it’s OK for other parents to judge you- on why you think it’s OK for anyone to judge you.  Because I can’t think of even one reason why it’s good to be judged, so I’m trying to expand my knowledge base.

Trust your instincts.  Some of parenting is instinctual- you just “know” when something is good or bad.  I know when my daughter is getting sick because she begins drinking more water.  I know this does not really qualify as instinct, but it is noticing when routine is off.  You know what is “normal” for your kid, and what is not.

So parents- please cut yourself some slack.  Parenting is hard.  Don’t constantly question yourself and the way you parent.  If you are constantly stressed, don’t you think your kids are going to feel your stress?  And then what do you think will happen?  Remember- if you don’t have a good answer, I will be forced to blog about it…..

Blogging PSA- Follow-up

It’s a vicious cycle.  I write a blog.  You comment.  I think of something to say based on comments.  So the following is all your fault.

First off, I learned a lot about trolls.  I am floored by the comments that others have made to bloggers.  To be fair, the majority of our little community is good, and seeks to inspire, not to criticize.  But you know, one bad apple….Someone was criticized for being too happy…..can you imagine?  “I’m sorry, happiness isn’t allowed here- it might give people the idea that happiness and positivity is an option- wouldn’t want that to happen.”  I don’t know about you, but, even though I don’t always get there, happiness is pretty high on my to do list…..

We know that I love a good spirited debate.  I have no problem with people who disagree with me, and vice versa, as long as it’s done logically and with respect, and no one tells the other, “Nah nah, I’m right and you’re wrong…”   I once had a conversation with a guy- we had opposite opinions of a subject.  I laid out my reasonable, rational argument, countering his points with my own.  After about 10 minutes, he began to see the rationale of my point of view, and actually changed his mind to my way of thinking.  Now, we were in bed at the time, but I really don’t think that influenced his decision at all……

But what do we think about when people give you instructions on how to do things?

I’ve given parenting advice.  My intention is not to shame anyone, or say “I’m right and you’re wrong” (though, who are we kidding, I’m always right), but it is to share the knowledge that I have learned in the past 50 years.  Some of it I have learned the hard way.  Some of it I have learned by doing almost the exact opposite of what my Mother had done.  I’m just sharing pieces of my life, in hope that you can see how I screwed up, so maybe you won’t have to feel the pain I did.

But what about the people that give advice, or make comments that are really just thinly disguised criticism?

You’ve seen them. The type that leaps to my mind are the Mommy Shamers.   They post pictures of perfect homemade treats, while they are wearing pressed white linen, their toddlers sitting quietly reading the works of Elizabeth Barrett Browning.  They say things like, “Oh- we’re so glad you had the time to run to the store to bring in that bag of Oreos for the bake sale.  We always forget about the children who don’t have advanced palates.”

There are also the lip pursers.  When you are discussing your wedding plans, the friend across from you looks like they are sucking on a lemon.  They say things like, “Sure, you could wear an off white dress, and carry flowers. I know you’re not really the creative type.  You need to play to your strengths, which is bland.”

And these are often people we call our friends.

So what do we do?

Yes- I’m about to give advice…..

  1. Not everyone has to be a close friend.
  2. Be selective about what you share.  Not everyone needs to know everything
  3. Be thankful if you have 1 close friend-  a true close friend is a rare and beautiful thing
  4. It’s ok to have activity specific friends.  I have a movie buddy.  The only thing we do together is see movies.  It works.
  5. Limit the amount of time you spend with people that only bring negativity, or make you feel bad about yourself (this includes family)- feel free to unfriend them
  6. Don’t take the shamers seriously, or pay them heed- they don’t deserve your time or consideration
  7. My advice is the only advice worth listening to- I am perfect……