Avoid Making Poor Choices


My husband and I are well-off compared to our friends. We’ve worked hard and made career choices that have gotten us where we are. Many of our friends, while hard workers, have gone into fields where the compensation isn’t high — it’s that simple. How do I deal with the passive-aggressive comments they make when we take a nice trip or do work on our home? I don’t want to be made to feel guilty. -Friends, With Money

Some people truly have jealous, embittered friends — and other people claim to be victims of jealous friends but really are flaunting their Tahitian vacations and Viking cooktops to the point of inducing projectile vomiting. Take a step back to analyze the dynamic here.

It might also be that what your friends view as good-natured ribbing is being interpreted by you as frustrated, angry attacks. If the friendship is solid, you can open up a conversation about it: “Hey, I noticed you made some comments when you were looking at my vacation photos. I know I get to do some things you don’t — if I’m making you feel uncomfortable, can we talk about it?”

Learn to Become A Real No-It-All

My mother is always getting involved in schemes, whether they be investment schemes or physical health schemes or self-improvement schemes. She’s constantly trying to recruit me. I’m usually a master of saying no, but I always feel guilty about it, especially since I think she’s lonely (she raised me mostly as a single mom and has never married). How do I tell her that I love her while declining to participate? -Guilty Daughter

“Mom, I love you, but I’m going to have to decline to participate.” I know — it’s not that simple. But realize that you can provide what she’s asking for in ways that don’t involve schemes. Time, attention, affection — that’s what she really may need, and recruiting you for schemes is probably connected to that.

I’m sure you’re already giving her these things, but by pushing yourself to give a little more, she might lessen up. Ask more questions about other areas of her life; take up a new hobby together; share more aspects of your life with her, and let her give you advice (even if you don’t take it). Once you’re giving all you truly can in that regard, you can feel less guilty about refusing to sell those all-natural lotions.

Dr. Andrea Bonior writes Express' advice column, Baggage Check.
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