What is your advice for me to avoid getting frustrated and even hurt by their lack of response? (And I’m talking about reaching out every six months, not being a pest on a daily basis.)
A: You can either accept the lopsided friendships as they are or stop reaching out to them. It seems that we have different friends for different seasons of our lives. It could be that the time for those relationships has passed or is at least over for now. You never know. Sometimes people re-enter our orbits years later. If I were you, I’d discontinue the fruitless outreach to these folks. Instead you might cultivate existing and new relationships that hold promise.
Another aspect to consider: Those friends, for whatever reason, are choosing to ignore you. In my book, that makes the person lose his status as a friend. And since it’s vital to keep good company, I’d focus on the high-quality people and not worry about the ones who decided to vanish. Trust me. They are not concerned about you in a meaningful way, and that should be a warning sign.
As Maya Angelou says, when someone shows you who they are, believe them.
Q: My dad is a Rush Limbaugh-listening, Fox News-watching “compassionate conservative” kind of guy. That’s fine. I’m a 53-year-old liberal daughter. I consider that fine, too. However, when the family gets together all he wants to talk about is his political views. And it doesn’t stop at talking. He yells at and shames anyone who contradicts him, so it doesn’t make for a fun get-together. I refuse to talk politics because I won’t allow him to do that to me anymore. But he can’t keep it to himself. It makes my mom a nervous wreck, as well as the rest of the family, because we just want to have a good time and enjoy each other. But he won’t, and it seems CAN’T, leave it alone. It just keeps getting worse to where he has nothing good to say about anything anymore. I don’t know what to do.
A: Poor ol’ pops. On the one hand, I feel sorry for him; on the other, I want to whack him upside the head. So you have several options. Among them are: grit your teeth and bear it; exit the room when the hot air starts blowing; initiate a conversation with a family member each time he revs up, and continue your talk in another area; hold gatherings outside of his home; instead of get-togethers, begin to meet up and do volunteer projects for folks in need; or slip a little Jack Daniel's in his coffee. I do believe some form of passive resistance is your best bet.
Last week I asked members of the Marietta Kiwanis Club for their responses to your question — that’s where I got the Jack Daniel's idea. One member recommended that you serve him a peanut butter and Elmer’s glue sandwich (just a joke, of course).
Yet another said to leave him alone because he’s right! Club members came up with all sorts of wild ideas, but I realize this is your daddy, and it’s a delicate situation. Whatever you decide, just make sure you put a heavy dose of love into it, even if it’s the toughest love he’s ever been served.
Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lauretta Hannon, a resident of Powder Springs, is the bestselling author of “The Cracker Queen — A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life” and a keynote speaker. Southern Living has named her “the funniest woman in Georgia.” See more at www.thecrackerqueen.com.