Friday, August 1, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Tell Me About It: Giving the benefit of the doubt

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While I'm away, readers give the advice.

 

On dealing with boorish public behavior:

I have found that life is so much more pleasant when I assume the best of everyone. I rarely take offense; rather I assume the person just had an awkward moment but meant well. When someone is obviously dishing dirt, I try to refrain from shoveling it back, again assuming the best from the other people within earshot. And if the others go along with the dirt, then I guess they aren't people I care to associate with anyway.

I get lots of practice because I am a high school teacher.

 

On not having kids and remaining friends with people who do:

I have stayed very close to my three college roommates. I lived farthest away and never married or had kids. I love visiting my friends and seeing how they live, and they love coming to visit me and seeing how I live. I've seen them through kids and divorces and now one expecting a grandchild.

Sure, the poop-centric talk got to me at times, but knowing what is going on in their lives is part of friendship. We were also lucky in that two of the three husbands understood how much we valued our time together and would otherwise engage the kids so the merlot could be poured.

I'm still touched by the memory of one friend who called me after Baby 3 was born, just to chat. She was still in the hospital feeling miserable and said, "I just want to hear your voice." Could I relate to her nursing issues? No. Could I relate to her just needing someone to talk to? Yes.

On making assumptions about other people's circumstances:

It grinds my gears when someone will say about another, "They have plenty of money." This is usually followed by some kind of suggestion about how they should be using it.

How can anyone presume to know anything about another person's finances? Ever?! I have plenty of commitments with my money that are none of anyone else's business, and though it may seem to an onlooker that I have a lot, my dollars are accounted for in the way I choose, not you.

So please, anyone out there who may ever see this, do not ever assume someone can chip in more than they committed for Mom's birthday gift, or for cousin Joe's medical treatment. You don't know, you don't get to ask, and you definitely don't get to tell.

 


tellme@washpost.com

Chat with Carolyn Hax online at noon Fridays at www.washingtonpost.com.

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