Posted in the Chicago Forum
Since: Jun 09
#1 Jul 19, 2014
DEAR ABBY: Neither of my parents do anything for fun. When Dad comes home from work, he either reads the newspaper or takes a nap. If Mom has free time after finishing the housework or running errands, she watches the news on TV or goes to bed early.
I never thought it was unusual because it has been this way since I was growing up. But once I was in high school, I started hearing classmates talk about their parents' friends or hobbies and I realized my parents are different. They don't even listen to music or read books.
When I want to go out with friends, my parents act annoyed and wonder why I want to go out instead of staying at home. Are there other people out there like this, or are my folks unusual?-- MYSTIFIED IN MAINE
DEAR MYSTIFIED: At the end of a busy day, many people want to simply unwind rather than look for things to do. Reading the newspaper, napping or watching the television news are some of the ways they do that. While your parents may be more introverted than those of your classmates, I don't think they are particularly unusual.
The question you should ask yourself is, "Is their relationship working for them?" And if the answer is yes, be glad. What's natural for some families isn't for everyone, and neither is their idea of what's fun.
DEAR ABBY: I'm a 15-year-old girl and my favorite teacher, "Mr. Brown," is going to another state with some other teachers to start a new school. I'll miss him dearly because he is funny and charismatic.
We have an average student-teacher relationship, but I still would like to stay in contact with him and see how he's doing. Is there any way I can maintain our relationship and contact him on my own to show that I miss him?-- TEEN IN NEW HAVEN
DEAR TEEN: If he hasn't already left your district, I suppose you could tell him he has been your favorite teacher and ask for his email address. He may be willing to share it with you, but if he and the other teachers are starting a new school, you can bet they are going to be extremely busy and focused on that -- so he may not be able to respond as often as you might wish.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I were invited to a friend's house for dinner. When I asked her if I could bring anything, the hostess handed me a cookbook and said she had marked two items I should make and bring. When I looked at them, I was shocked.
She was asking me to bake bread and make a salad. The bread had many ingredients, and I have never made bread from scratch. I don't even own a stand mixer. The salad recipe was also complicated.
Was I unreasonable to decline the invitation? The ingredients alone were going to cost me at least $30, and the stress was more than I was willing to take on.-- AGHAST IN ARIZONA
DEAR AGHAST: I think you cut off your nose to spite your face. All you had to do was level with your hostess and tell her you had never baked bread and didn't have the necessary equipment -- and that you were prepared to make her a simple salad. What was she going to do, disinvite you?
#2 Jul 19, 2014
LW1's parents are different--but harmless. Is LW1 olds enough to move out? Does LW1 want to move out--but can't afford to? Some more answers are needed--but LW1 can let them be--or innocently ask
them if they want to come along when they ask LW1 to stay home with them.
LW2 would be wise to get a few friends together for a "thank you for
being a mentor" presentation. That way they are unlikely to be misunderstood. LW2 alone telling him "I'll miss you" could be too easily
mistaken for what it should not be.
LW3 is giving Arizona a bad name and got an accurate answer.
#3 Jul 19, 2014
1: I don't know how old the lw is now but I suspect she's still in high school. In any case, it doesn't sound as though there's any abuse going on. People are different and it's illogical to think that one's parents should be like everyone else. If the lw were a mature adult, she'd realize that. If she's a high school graduate and living at home between college semesters or she's at home because she is saving for an apartment and possibly a car, she should simply have a conversation with her parents about their different tastes for relaxation or entertainment when not at work. I'm sure they could come to a reasonable compromise. I think perhaps her high school friends have told her that her parents are weird because they are different from their own parents. The lw shouldn't worry.
2: A teacher is always gratified to hear a student say that he/she's a favorite teacher. Keeping in touch by email might be a bit difficult if they are of opposite sex. The teacher's spouse might take offense and think there was more than the usual teacher/student relationship. My own daughter has kept in touch with some teachers and support staff from her high school years. She does this through facebook. Some of these people were especially helpful to her when she was going through some difficulties. She stepped up to help some of them as well.
3: I agree with with Abby on this. I suspect the lw was too embarrassed to tell the hostess that she didn't have the skills/equipment to make the items requested.
#4 Jul 19, 2014
LW1 and LW2 - Is Abby switching to a new format - teen columnist?
Anyway, LW2, Facebook. Although, I've got to say I never accept friend requests from students until after they graduate, and my students are adults.
LW3 - Uhh. It is rude to *invite people for dinner* and then have them provide the food. It wasn't a potluck. LW was right to decline the invitation. It's not the complexity of the dishes, it's the hostess's gall in having guests to provide her menu.
#5 Jul 19, 2014
LW1: Count your blessings, it could be a lot worse. Your parents are stable and boring. Read some of the letters in this and other advice columns for a perspective.
LW2: I don't think it would be a good idea for you to try and stay in touch. Team boundary painter.
LW3: In your position, I would have gone to a bakery and picked up the bread and made a simple salad with minimal but tasty ingredients and brought a store-bough dressing. The hostess overstepped by being too specific about what she wanted, but you didn't have to skip the party.
#6 Jul 19, 2014
2: I agree about waiting until the students are adults. I didn't think about that aspect. My daughter is certainly an adult and we didn't have facebook when she was in high school. She sometimes visited the school when she was on vacation and also reconnected with these teachers and other school employees via fb some time after she graduated. One of them was the school principal when she started middle school and left the year she graduated and others included a guidance counselor, a secretary, and a couple of teachers. They're all nice people I knew as well and they often asked about her after she graduated.
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