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How do I politely tell someone that I am no longer following the news? I find it depressing and overwhelming, so I have decided to ignore everything that isn’t happening directly to me. Friends are absolutely aghast at this choice. They say I am burying my head in the sand. And I say, yes, that is exactly what I am doing. They find it hard to talk to me if they can’t reference the latest headlines and tell me how frightened, angry or incredulous the news makes them feel.
I think I might actually lose friends over this. What should I do?
Boy, do I hear you on this one! I think this is one of life’s little situations in which you may just have to…lie.
You can tell your friends that “I’ll get back to the news when I’m ready.…..” We both know that may be never, but who cares? And, being a thinking person, you probably will get back to the news sooner than later. So you may want to add, “Taking a news break doesn’t mean I don’t care or that I am uninformed. For instance, what do we think about Justin Fields’ ribs? Do we even care after last week’s sweet but lonely win?”
You can also remind your friends that while delving into the news may be the way they cope with the current chaos, it is not always the way you prefer to handle it. They have no more right to tell you what you should do vis a vis the news than you do telling them how many calories to consume in a day.
These days, we all need to take breaks from, well, lots of things. Among them, work, spouse, children, siblings, parents and social media. To that list I would definitely add the news. Especially in the last five years. So you do you and take the time you need.
Holding two divergent things in our head at once is really hard: the news is profoundly upsetting, AND we still have to function and make it through the day. Of course you know my go-to remedy, chocolate-covered anything.
My mother-in-law is a warm, wonderful, caring person. However, she has a real thing, bordering on paranoia in my opinion, about people leaving her out of things. Case in point: recently I went to get a haircut at my wife’s salon, something I have never done before, because who needs to ever pay that much for a haircut?!?! But, I was about to interview for an important job. The interview was very hush hush since my current employer didn’t know I was looking around. When the stylist, who lives several towns over, asked me what the special occasion was, I told her about the interview.
The very next day, wouldn’t you know it, my mother-in-law has an appointment with the same stylist who says in passing, “It’s very exciting about Joe’s job interview!” You can imagine what happened after that. She called me later that day hunting for bear. Her opening salvo was, “I have to hear about your job interview from my hair stylist?!?!?!?” And on it went from there.
What should I have done? I love my mother-in-law but will not be steamrolled by her either.
Can’t win for losing
Dear Can’t win,
Mothers-in-law are like a box of chocolates…..
I applaud your backbone. Your aim is true. For you should be friendly and loving to your mother-in-law, but not steamrolled by her. There is nothing wrong with you standing your ground. Especially since she seems to have no trouble standing hers!
Since she called you specifically to pick a fight with you, your job is to present her with a calm, impenetrable wall that she can not break through. You should explain to her that you are not willing to share your employment opportunities with her or anyone else (perhaps including your own mother!). This is a private issue between you and your wife, her daughter.
I believe that oftentimes bullies like this usually shrivel like a raisin when confronted with someone who does not give a s#*t that said bully may be angry for an hour, a day, a week, or a month, which is great for you since that is less time you have to deal with someone this unreasonable.
What should you do when you are getting a haircut that is not going the way you would like? I hate to be critical of my stylist and truth be told, I usually like her cuts after a week or so. But sometimes, while chit-chatting about whether it’s too late to plant spring bulbs, I am screaming (inside my head) “don’t cut my bangs so short!” or “I said one inch off the back, not three!”
Cat got my tongue
I hear you! I think many women are conditioned to be polite and friendly even when it works against their best interests. As though being nice is the single most important thing in the world. It’s not! I mean, I’m not saying you have to be Cruella Deville but there is a happy medium. It’s called polite honesty. No stylist worth their salt wants you to get up from their chair unhappy with your new look.
But if you don’t speak up, they cannot read your mind! Even if you already explained what you want them to do, it is absolutely worth reiterating. Just say “Can you leave a little more length on the bangs?” or “Can you take a little less off the back?”
I promise your stylist will not hate you or even think twice about what you say. They will be too busy rubbing their aching back, sweeping up hair, grabbing a bite in the back room or trying to find time to schedule parent/teacher conferences in between clients. But if you really want to make sure they are happy, tip generously, as I know you will.
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.