ShareThis Page
More Lifestyles

Son's introverted fiancee not comfortable at family meals

| Friday, Aug. 10, 2018, 1:33 a.m.

Dear Carolyn:

My son and his fiancee bought a condo close to us, which then flooded. They moved in with us and repairs have taken longer than anticipated.

His fiancee, “Laura,” is an intense introvert. For that reason, I gave up my exercise, TV and craft room for her to have her “alone” time.

The problem? She feels trapped when she must eat at the table with us. He just informed us tonight. I do the dishes and clean the kitchen to release the tension, but it’s obvious, she would rather eat in the bedroom or not eat. My son is fine with eating with us.

I really don’t want anyone eating in other rooms due to roaches, ants, mice, rats, etc. And I certainly don’t want to make Laura feel “trapped.” I was even told she hated family get-togethers before they moved in. It seems this is an extreme introversion, or maybe I just don’t understand it. Please advise.

— Anonymous

You actually don’t need to understand it.

You don’t even need to accommodate it, technically, since it’s your home.

It would help if you could do both to some degree, of course, but only to demonstrate compassion versus prostrate yourself to the point of resentment.

In this case, just say:

— You’re sorry to hear Laura isn’t comfortable;

— She’s welcome to handle her meals as she wishes, of course;

— And she’s always welcome at your table.

That’s it. Donesies.

It’s not personal so don’t take it personally; it’s not your business so don’t make it so.

The vermin thing would make it your business because it’s your home, sure, but that concern is also a red herring unless Laura is a messy eater and/or leaves crusty dishes around.

So, drop it. Drop it all. Your best chance that she’ll be comfortable with you eventually is for you to be at ease with — and make things easy for — her.

I hope your more outgoing son (right?) understands fully the life he’s committing to — for Laura’s sake especially — and is ready to compensate and compromise to get his own social needs met. Your willingness to listen and be flexible, without butting in, could be a gift to them both.

Dear Carolyn:

One neighbor, “Julie,” takes indifferent care of her lawn, and it has never bothered us. Another neighbor, “Neil,” is very lawn-conscious and sent Julie an anonymous letter asking her to take better care of her lawn.

Julie now gets professional spraying and mowing. I’m self-conscious that Julie thinks we’re the letter-writers (we live closer to her than Neil does). I don’t want to tell Julie we didn’t write the letter, because then it will be clear we know who did. If we’re extra friendly to Julie it may look like we’re trying to make up for doing something so aggressive. Is there any way to signal to her that we don’t care if her lawn is a little long and scraggly?

— Walk on My Lawn, I Don’t Care

Treat Julie as you always have, and stay out of it except to tell Neil, on behalf of all who have ever received one, that anonymous notes are a chickencrap way to speak his mind. Julie pays in paranoia for his lack of spine? He’s OK with that? So not cool.

Email Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com, follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at noon Eastern time each Friday at www.washingtonpost.com.

Email Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com, follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at noon Eastern time each Friday at www.washingtonpost.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me