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My family friends often share a story about how they helped their neighbor escape an abusive relationship. They positively benefit by using this story to elevate their position in society and often reference how influential they were in this person’s escape, which seems too savior complex to me. What should I say when they bring it up next time?
Sick of this story
It seems to me that everyone tries to elevate themselves in the eyes of others. It’s just that some may be more obvious than others. Some people are name-droppers, some are know-it-alls, and some may even undercut others with, ironically, their humility. Human nature can be a bitch. The question here is, when, if ever, do we have a right to say something to another person about their self-aggrandizement?
If it were my husband, I would come right out and say, “when you tell that story over and over again, it sounds like you are trying to make yourself into a saint and it’s a little nauseating.” With a friend, though, it could be tricky. I would love it if we could all speak so plainly to one another and maybe you are someone who feels comfortable saying something like that to a friend. But it could also open Pandora’s box. Do you have all of the facts of the story? Is this a person who may be open to your feelings about their savior complex? Are you prepared for this friend to be angry and offended?
If this is a friendship you value, you can try and talk about your frustration. Or you can choose to accept them knowing that this is your friend’s narrative, warts and all. If that seems impossible to you, get some distance from this friend and see how you feel over time. Like any relationship, friendships go through phases and the idea is to ride the surfboard up and down with the waves, to try and avoid the wipeout.
I’m in my late 20s and I’ve been dating my boyfriend for a year and a half. We haven’t had sex in this relationship, but I’ve had sex before. Because we waited so long, I’m worried it will be a big deal at this point. To be honest, I don’t feel like I’m missing anything. What do I do, Gabby?
It may indeed be a bigger deal the longer you wait but a) it sounds like you’re perfectly happy sans sex with your new boyfriend – nothing wrong with that! And b) if you are worried that the relationship-sans-sex-sich is going to make things awkward, there is only one way to diffuse that, and that is to talk to him about it.
My guess is that that conversation, awkward though it may feel when you think about it, will be a breath of fresh air for both of you, and you will walk away from it feeling so, so, so much better. There are a zillion reasons why people have sex and just as many why they don’t. And sex/no sex, potato/potahto, it’s all perfectly fine. You do you and others will do others.
The important thing here is that you are in communication about it. If you’re both happy, then in the words of the late, great Fats Waller, when it comes to having sex or not having sex, “Tain’t Nobody’s Biz-ness if I Do”! (Before you write in, I know he did not write that song but he did sing it. He also sang “Your Feet’s Too Big,” “You’re Not the Only Oyster in the Stew,” “It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie,” “All That Meat and No Potatoes” just to name a few.) Fats knew what he was talking about!
My mother moved in with me and my husband during COVID so she wouldn’t be lonely. Now that we have all been vaccinated, how do I politely ask her to leave without offending her?
“Hi mom! It’s been wonderful to spend so much quality time together during COVID. Now that everyone is vaccinated, how about you come for the weekend next month and we can reconvene the party for a few days?”
“Hi mom! It’s been so much fun having you here during the last 18 months. Now that we’re all vaccinated, Joe and I would like to get back to our old rhythms and habits. Let us help you move your stuff back to your apartment and let’s plan for our next get together…..”
Hopefully those will work. Hinting only goes so far sometimes. But gentle confidence should do the trick. Unless you’re worried about the Delta. Or Lamda. Or Mu…..
Dear Gabby appears in the RoundTable every Friday. Yes, Gabby is an advice columnist – but not just any advice columnist. Because that would be boring! Gabby combines wisdom with wit. And a pinch of snark. She is not a trained therapist by any means, but has seen and loved many in her day. Her aim is to make you think while she makes you laugh. Gabby welcomes all questions and queries and is only too happy to hear your opinion, no matter how much it may diverge from hers. Write to Gabby at firstname.lastname@example.org.