I’m about to take my husband back after a six-month separation brought about by the fact that he cheated on me for several years. I was certain that I wanted a divorce, but for lots of reasons, including the sake of our children, we are giving it another go. My friends, however, have been condescending. How do I tell them that I don’t want to hear their criticisms? -It’s My Business
This answer depends on what kind of friendships you want. You can silence your friends, but if they have legit concerns that they’re never allowed to discuss, then they’re your friends in name only.
That’s not to say you need to listen to the same refrain over and over again. And if they’re engaging in unfounded, bitter character attacks about your husband, certainly, that’s not appropriate. Some friends don’t necessarily have your best interests in mind — they just want to express their condescension, whether it be about your ex or your stove. But your truest friends are going to need to feel heard. Give them two weeks, and promise that you’ll hear them out for this finite period of time if they will give your choice a chance afterward. Then listen.
Be There for Her, Even From Here
My teenage sister has had some developmental delays that have affected the way she acts socially. I think my parents are too hard on her and expect her to be completely social and happy (like I was in high school). They haven’t been very supportive or kept up with counseling. I want to be able to make sure she gets a fair shot, but they live several states away and I am in college up here. -Sad Big Sis, VA
You’re a great sister for being concerned and on top of this. Don’t underestimate the power of simply letting her know how much you care. Keep ties strong with her, and lines of communication open. Emails, Skype, letters — however you can stay emotionally connected, do it.
Let her know how much you believe in her, and how she’s got more than her parents to provide her with unconditional love. Depending on her challenges, there might be books that you can urge your parents to read to understand her better. You also might contact her school counselor to let him or her know of the situation, so that there’s someone closer to the home front who can help stay on top of things.