Dear Carolyn: My partner and I have a wonderful (and wild) 3-year-old girl. We both work full time, and she attends a loving preschool. We live four to five hours away from any family.
Lately, other friends have had a second or third child. That's great for them.
But what I don't appreciate is the pressure we get from our friends to have more kids. We have decided not to for a variety of reasons, with the No. 1 reason being the prohibitively expensive child care and the financial inability for one parent to stay home. Yet we are constantly hammered by friends to "go for the second." Friends have said our daughter will be an entitled weirdo if she's an only child, particularly since we live far from family.
This has led us to second-guess our decision. Is having an only child when you live far from family a bad thing?
Pressured: Having a second child just to shut your friends up is a bad thing.
Pressuring people about their family planning is also a bad thing. Idiots. This is none of your friends’ business.
But the worst thing here is the mindless, broad-brush smear of every only child who ever existed, and all their parents — “far from family” is a red herring — just because . . . what, your friends can’t think of anything more interesting to talk about than their own validation? I’m otherwise at a loss to explain it.
Do make it clear what they’re really saying: “You do realize you just called every only child on Earth ‘entitled’ and ‘weird,’ and blamed their parents for it? Please tell me you didn’t mean to.”
If they try to defend themselves: “You’re my friend, yes? Then don’t judge us or pressure us to be like you.”
If they’re as obtuse as they are judgy and maintain the breed-more pressure, then keep this handy and repeat — verbatim — as needed: “I’m not asking for advice.”
As needed, either till they leave you alone or you replace them with less clue-challenged friends.
Hi, Carolyn: My boyfriend has made a habit out of using birthdays and holidays as an opportunity to upgrade his lifestyle under the guise of generous gift-giving. He recently gifted me his used laptop — which he did spend money on, getting it cleaned up — for Christmas, after buying himself the latest upgraded laptop. My last birthday he gave me his used scuba gear and took that opportunity to upgrade his own set.
The thing is, I'm not a big diver, and my current laptop is perfectly adequate and better suited for my needs. However, he gets upset if I politely decline, so these presents are really just taking up valuable closet space.
Am I ungrateful or am I justified in feeling a bit stuck in an ungrateful-recipient position? I'm also not able to figure out why exactly this irks me, and it seems disingenuous to fake enthusiasm as I'm walking gifts over to the closet.
Anonymous: Your boyfriend is generous primarily to himself, and really, really doesn’t care to have that pointed out to him.
You are likely irked by this because self-centered people are irksome.
He is not even trying to hide this information from you. Please see him for who he is and act accordingly.