My husband is not a social animal. He is a great guy, but he thinks getting together with other couples is a waste of his precious time. I have a good social life with my friends, but I like the idea of getting together as couples sometimes. It is embarrassing to make up excuses when we are asked over. I feel bad about lying. Advice?
Not alone but lonely
Advice? Of course I have advice! I have a solution that requires no lying whatsoever. If your husband won’t go out with other couples, go without him!
I was at SPACE last night, and the people behind me were talking while the musicians were playing. And they weren’t the only ones. I shushed the people behind me and they looked at me like they wanted to kill me. But I didn’t pay good money to hear their conversation, I came to hear the music. What should I have done?
Where’s a muzzle when you need one?
This is a very frustrating situation that never seems to go away. Keep in mind also that the longer an evening goes at a live music venue, the more alcohol people generally consume, and each drink makes people less and less inhibited. This means not only more talking, but also more indignation at being told to shush.
I think a polite, “Would you guys mind keeping it down during the music? Thanks so much!” is about all you can do. If the talking persists, you can move seats (if possible). If it’s really bad, you can ask someone from the venue to intervene, but that may create an even bigger stink.
At SPACE specifically, you can always go stand in the back and hope that no one there is talking, but you have to be far younger than me to stand for hours at a time (personally speaking, I want a refrigerator, a bathroom and my pajamas surrounding me anytime after say, 8 at night. So sad). Also, some people just don’t consider a concert some place they need to be quiet.
You can also try to practice a mindful zen-like state of mind and attempt to bring it with you when you go out. It beats beating your fellow concert goer to a pulp. Almost.
I’m moving to a new country for up to a year in three weeks! I would hate to be the ugly American and wonder if you have some guidance for a young traveler. That, and also packing tips for a heavy traveler with only two checked bags.
How exciting! What a great opportunity to steep yourself in another culture (and get away from America)! If you are already aware of ugly American-ness, I believe you’re unlikely to be an ugly American (loud, unable to blend in, uninterested in really learning about other cultures in a genuine way, etc.).
When you are in another culture, you are there to learn and defer, not control and command. You should be one big eye and one big ear. Respect is the name of the game. Be a sponge, soak it all in and keep a journal because as much as you think you are having experiences you could never forget, you will definitely forget them eventually. And try everything!
As for packing tips, I am the queen of traveling light, so you have come to the right place. However, my biggest piece of advice is pack only one suitcase, and take a second empty suitcase along because in all likelihood, you will fill it up. You don’t wanna be schlepping heavy suitcases around. You wanna bring the minimum and accumulate. If you want specific recommendations, keep reading. If not, skip the next paragraph.
I recommend: One pair of jeans (that you wear on the plane), a few T-shirts (quick dry are best of course), one tank dress, a pair of lightweight gauzy-type comfy pants, one pair of shorts, a light blouse you can throw over the tank dress or a T-shirt to cover up or dress it up, one pair of sandals, one pair of walking shoes (that you wear on the plane), something to sleep in, and toiletries.
Voila! All the fabrics should be quick dry except the jeans. Easy to do these days. Plus camping soap to wash things out at night. You will not miss your clothes. When you wear these out or it gets cold, you can buy clothes where you are. If you are on a budget, there are lots of thrift stores everywhere, sometimes called opp shops, or your family may be able to send you your big winter coat once you get settled.
My last piece of advice is this: remember that just because you are in an exciting place, having an adventure that everyone else thinks is going to be nothing but rainbows and fireworks, doesn’t mean it won’t be a little lonely, boring and frustrating at times, just like life here. That’s OK!
I recently put off a trip to the wilderness for two years because of COVID, only to go on the trip where people came down with COVID (and didn’t isolate). Was I super pissed? Yes. Was I still in the wilderness and in a once-in-a-lifetime place I will never see again? Yes! Try not to get into that self-defeating trap that may lead you to thoughts like, “I’m depressed and lonely, and I’m in Djibouti! I’m supposed to be having the time of my life!” which just makes it worse. Life is life, up and down, no matter where you are.
Have a blast! Suck it all in! Be safe!
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.