An advice smorgasbord!

Dear Amy: My teenage daughter had one of her longtime friends over.

My 19-year-old son walked into the kitchen to microwave his coffee, and even though he was mere feet away from my daughter’s friend, he did not say hello to her.

I think this is very rude.

I didn’t think I raised my children this way. My other two children who are more outgoing always make it a point to greet people.

He says it is not necessary and that when he goes to his friends’ houses those families do not say hello to him, either.

I believe you should always greet people when they enter your home.

Are simple manners a thing of the past?

– Rude?

Dear Rude: I don’t believe that simple manners have totally gone by the wayside but because well-mannered people seem to be rarer these days, those who are polite really stand out!

You provide a bit of a clue to your son’s behavior when you describe your other children as “more outgoing.”

If your son is an introvert, or simply more reserved or shy, something as simple as a “hi” greeting in the kitchen might be a big lift for him. All the same, he should recognize that this is a worthy goal — and work on it.

I coached a shy young family member to use a “silent hello.”

When words fail, eye contact and a smile can go a very long way. (c) Ask Amy

No. I disagree. This isn’t a matter of being introverted or shy or socially anxious or awkward. This is self-absorption and a lack of social empathy.

When I was in the youth group as a teenager, there were a few signs I didn’t catch at the time that they didn’t like me. But one sign I always caught was avoided eye contact, which makes me think of this letter writer’s son’s behavior, too, with the no hellos. It’s rude. It says, “You aren’t here to me. I’m pretending you’re not in my kitchen.” Ugh.

Yes, a smile or a wave would suffice, but I think Ask Amy’s off the mark here with her analysis. If I were the mom, I’d have a talk with her son.

Let’s see what Miss Manners is up to today! Mischief, I’m sure.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I ordered a seafood salad, and the shrimp arrived with the tails on. What is the correct way to eat such shrimp: with your fingers, or by cutting off the tail?

GENTLE READER: How about cutting off the restaurant?

Diving into your salad with your fingers is a bad, not to say messy, idea. So leaving the tail shells on makes it impossible for you to eat your entire costly shrimp. Miss Manners has never understood why restaurants have taken up this affectation. (c) MISS MANNERS

Whoa. Okay. You’re not supposed to eat the shrimp tails? Oops. I just ate shrimp tails last night. (I sometimes treat myself to coconut shrimp for dinner.) I’m concerned now (yet laughing), so I’m going to google it.

Whew! Okay, good. They’re edible but not meant to be eaten. I can live with that.

Let’s check in with Dear Abby!

DEAR ABBY: After my divorce 15 years ago, I moved 800 miles away to be near my only family — my older sister — at her request. We are close and talk on the phone every day, but do nothing together because she’s always busy and active with her partner of 50 years and their circle of friends.

I have made few friends (just a couple from work and neighborhood acquaintances), nor have I found a romantic connection despite trying online dating, self-help books and volunteering. I even tried going on vacation alone a few years ago, which was misery. I’ve been through counseling three times. All three professionals have concluded that this is simply my life.

During the COVID quarantine, I actually felt normal for the first time in 15 years because everyone else was spending all their time at home alone, too. While I’m relieved and thankful for the vaccines for bringing us closer to an end to the pandemic, I’m also depressed. I am dreading a return to “normal” because people will resume living and I will sit here and watch. How do I accept that this is how my life will be? — SIDELINED IN SOUTH CAROLINA

DEAR SIDELINED: My late mother once told me that people can be as happy as they choose to be. You appear to be someone who has too much time on her hands. You are not a deprived urchin with her nose pressed against a bakery window. You are a capable adult who, now that so many people have been vaccinated, can get out of your dwelling and involve yourself in activities that interest you.

The time you’re wasting “watching” others live their lives is time you could be spending getting out into the community and perhaps volunteering again, taking a class or searching for a part-time job. If you do, you may meet others with similar interests and — while you may or may not find the romance you crave — you could possibly make some new friends. (c) DEAR ABBY

Is she depressed? There’s something about feeling trapped on the sidelines that seems like depression. Like, I’m not good enough to participate. I’m forever on the outside looking in. I don’t deserve more. Hmm. I can sort of relate. I was never brave enough to join groups in school or college. I felt like they were for everyone else, but not for me.

There’s a Tarot card that represents this. I think it’s the Five of Pentacles. Yeah, that’s the card.

In this time of need, the Five of Pentacles indicates that you feel isolated and alone. Just like the two people in the card, you feel as if you have been left in the cold. You may wonder, “Why is no one coming to help me!?” It may appear as if no one cares anymore. However, since the windows in the church are lit up, help is nearby; but you are too focused on your problems to notice. You may be waiting for someone to come and help you when really, you need to be proactive and ask for help. You need to swallow your pride or let go of your fear of rejection and reach out. People are here to support you. Find them and let them know you need them.

(c) Brigit Esselmont at her website, biddytarot.com

Yeah. The letter writer needs to push through it and insert herself into others’ lives, and the sooner the better. Nothing’s sadder than thinking you don’t belong and don’t deserve to be included. Maybe she needs a mantra like… hmm… I belong here. I’d also urge her to make friends online as well.

All three professionals have concluded that this is simply my life.

My intuition’s telling me that the three therapists were overwhelmed with her self-criticizing energy and weren’t up to the task of helping her overcome it. Hmm. She might want to keep reading the self-help books, too. At this point, nothing could hurt.

4 thoughts on “An advice smorgasbord!

  1. Oooh! I’m going to respectfully disagree on the Ask Amy, I grew up painfully shy and anxious so would avoid eye contact and try to keep to myself as much as possible, my siblings having a friend over could easily give me a panic attack at the thought of interacting with them, what if they thought I was annoying, or I sounded stupid, or they could sense how terrified I was, or I was simply getting in their way. I never ever intended to be rude to anyone but it took a long time and a lot of practice (which I still fail at now sometimes) to be able to greet new people, start conversations etc without feeling like an intruder and an imposter all at the same time.

    Seafood is not for me, but the last one I agree with you, I think they have stayed too long in their loneliness and if they reached out they could make the friends they are missing out on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh wow, thanks for commenting! This will help me be more aware of other possiblities!! It’s my natural instinct to assume self-absorption and disdain, so I’m actually sort of glad to know that that’s not necessarily the case!! [Nods.] I can see it more from your perspective now!!

      Oh wow, further, I was afraid you didn’t like me anymore! 😮 WordPress has been glitching and it unfollowed me from your blog! AAUGH! Why, wordpress, why? So I’m really glad you commented!! 😮

      Liked by 1 person

      1. WordPress has been a nightmare lately, it keeps deleting my comments and not showing me notifications!

        Nothing to worry about there Meg we may have different opinions on some things (wouldn’t it be boring if we didn’t) but I definitely still look forward to your posts and your comments on mine x

        Liked by 1 person

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