My parents (in their 70s) have been separated for three years. Neither of them did great financial planning. My mother recently started dating a wealthy man, let’s call him Bob, who turns out to be the father of a friend of mine. They are talking about getting married, which my friend is not happy about.
Add to that, my father would like to sell the family cabin he has been living in for the past three years to finance a move to a senior living center. My mom wants to buy it, for sentimental reasons, but let’s face it, she will be using Bob’s money to do it. My Dad is asking me how he can inflate the selling price, and my Mom is asking me how she can decrease the amount she pays.
Meanwhile Bob’s daughter and I are having brunch in a few weeks to discuss why she is unhappy with her father’s relationship with my mom. Help! How do I navigate all this?
Tied in knots before anyone ties the knot
You should navigate this by letting the grown-ups – otherwise known as your parents – who got themselves into this mess, get themselves out of it. One parent should not be asking your advice on how to stiff your other parent. This is what therapists are for!
Practice this handy, dandy phrase that I have previously mentioned in this space, then say it to your parents: I am sure you will work it out. I am sure you will work it out. I am sure you will work it out.
Then tell your friend that you would love to see her, but that you have to put the kibosh on discussing your mom and her dad’s relationship since nothing good ever came of kids trying to tell their parents who they can date and vice versa. Just ask Britney Spears.
Whenever my friend is around new people, I catch her lying about her past (friendships with people, her current boyfriend’s job, and other weird random things). I hate when she lies, and it seems like it’s been happening more and more often.
I’m not sure why she’s lying, and I want to talk with her because I’m nervous her lying will end up hurting her. How do I go about this conversation, and should I even talk with her at all?
Pants on fire
Your friend sounds like she has something to prove, as though the truth isn’t good enough and requires embellishment. You are not responsible for her future jobs and relationships, however. These things will rise and fall depending on her fortunes.
But! I don’t think it would be unreasonable for you to say, “Hey, Twinkles, I thought Joe worked at a copy shop and not the Jet Propulsion Laboratory? Did he change jobs?” and see what she says. I would approach it as a person interested in facts, not a person concerned about her future relationships. It will be interesting to see if she says, “Oh yeah, you’re right,” in which case you can say, “I think you told Mr. Smith that Joe works at JPL. Did you mean to?” as opposed to, “I notice you’ve been lying and I’m concerned about your future.”
My guess is that she is aware of her exaggerations, but if not, you’ve given her new info. If she continues to tell these lies, then you have done what you can other than saying, “I’m really uncomfortable with the lies that you tell, even if they seem small or insignificant to you,” which is also totally valid. It’s your choice on the approach and also if the friendship is worth keeping if she continues to stretch the truth in uncomfortable ways. You can only control your side of the equation.
I’m so tired of people telling me what shows I ABSOLUTELY HAVE to watch, then asking me at every opportunity, “Have you watched The Tiger King yet? Why not?” I don’t mind hearing about what they’ve seen, I just don’t need any homework assignments. I don’t tell people what to watch, though I might say “I really enjoyed White Lotus, did you see it?” I have no intention of watching, say, Love Island; nevertheless, they persist.
I hear you! Some people are extremely pushy and tone deaf. I have a total thing where I like to come to books, movies and TV shows as a complete blank slate; I don’t watch trailers or read book flaps or want to hear anything about a show before I watch it. Some people simply can’t wrap their head around this.
So I often say to people, “Don’t tell me anything about it! Your recommendation is enough. I don’t want any info at all! ANY” and still they drone on, telling me the entire plot and basically spoiling it for me. This is when I often feel the urge to punch them in the face. But I refrain. However, I am pretty aggressive about saying, “I really, really don’t want to hear anything about the show. I’m not kidding.”
So my suggestion is to come up with a stock phrase and just repeat it to death. Something like “Thanks for the suggestion, I’ll try and get to it but it might not be my cup of tea.” I will admit that I have been reticent to take a friend’s suggestion to watch a show that I thought looked really stupid but then I ended up loving it, but it’s a crap shoot for sure.
Life is too short and there is too much really good TV to spend it watching The Tiger King if Borgen is more your thing. But if you want a list of the absolute best TV out there, hit me up ’cause Gabby provides!
Dear Gabby appears in the RoundTable every Monday. 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.