Hostesses Should Invite, Not Pressure Guests
Dear Margo: My dear friend invited my husband and me to a party at her home with all older adults (no children, as she and her relatives have no kids or grandkids). I told her my husband and I would not be able to attend (1-6 p.m.) because we would be babysitting our 4-year-old grandson. She was put out and not happy with our reason. But my husband and I knew it would not be fun for him (or for us), as he would have no one to play with. She tried to put pressure on me by saying they would all play with him, etc., but we knew this wouldn’t work and that he would have much more fun with us at home with the toys and food he loves.
What would’ve been a good way to handle this situation? It is really bothering me that she was not sympathetic. –Grandmother from Walpole, Maine
Dear Grand: I think you did it just right. The little boy did not belong there, and my own feeling is that the hostess was nuts to encourage you to bring him. (I can think of few things that would put a damper on a party like a 4-year-old among people with no children or grands!) She must really love having you as guests, or she wanted to show off her newly painted living room (or something like that). Give her a call and say you’d love to be included at her next do, and ask her to give you sufficient notice so that you will not be babysitting. –Margo, rationally
Making Oneself Heard
Dear Margo: I’m 28 years old, and I’ve always been a creative person. I loved to write and draw and paint. I’m not claiming to be the next Stephen King or Salvador Dali, but it satisfied my sense of creativity and got me through tough times. I not only had a stillbirth in 2005, when I was 22, but I then met the man I thought I would spend my life with. Long story short, the night before I was to go wedding dress shopping, he called to tell me he’d slept with another woman and realized he didn’t want to be married. I tried to write and draw but just couldn’t.
I am currently impotent (and that’s the best way I can describe it) when it comes to being creative. I feel the urge to write/draw, but I am blocked. I realize depression weighs into this, but at the same time, I’m not moping around and have had a wonderful support network that helped me work through a lot of my emotions.
Now, the reason I’m writing you: My little brother also inherited the creative gene, and I admit he is quite talented. He is also my best friend. However … whenever he writes anything or paints a new picture, he insists on showing it to me and needs to hear how wonderful it is. This only serves to underscore my own impotency and create a sense of jealousy that I can’t explain and dislike. If I don’t fawn all over whatever he’s just done, he accuses me of being “pissy” and “jealous.” I can’t help how this makes me feel. Is there a way of letting him know that his creativity is wonderful, but it does me no good to have it waved in my face at every turn? –Blocked and Blue
Dear Block: There is a way: straightforwardly. Try to explain and make him understand that his productivity only serves to underscore your own block, and it would be better for your mental health if he didn’t put you in the position of having to see his output and feel obliged to ooh and ah. Tell him that surely there are others who would be genuinely enthusiastic. I also think your artistic self will return. –Margo, straightforwardly
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Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via e-mail to email@example.com. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.
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