Dear Carol

"Dear Carol, my friend's parents are getting involved in our relationship"

Dear Carol, 

So there's this new girl at my school. My friends and I became friends with her. After a while, she got really clingy. We got annoyed, so one of my friends told her that we simply needed some space. She got really upset. I did say sorry and that we could all still be friends, but it was just getting a little intense. This was two weeks ago. Since then, everyone made up and it's been better. But then her mom found out what happened and is trying to have a conference with my parents and my friends' parents. I don't want a situation that's now fine made into something worse. 

- Argument

Dear Argument, 

On the one hand, parents should do their best not to intervene. But I also can see why this was hard for the new girl's family. Her mom must have been glad that her daughter made friends (yay!), then upset when it felt as if those friends ambushed her daughter and told her they needed space (ouch!). In theory we admire honesty but, in real life, being less direct is often kinder. Returning texts more slowly can be easier on someone than telling them point-blank that you need breathing room. And good for you for apologizing. But apologies range in quality. Think about it. Saying, "If we hurt your feelings, we didn't mean to" isn't as nice as just plain "I'm sorry we hurt your feelings." Now what? If the new mom still wants a parent conference, loop in your mom. Say, "Mom, can you just tell her that you've already spoken to me about it?" With luck, it can stay civil and not become My Kid vs. Your Kid. These days, too many people forget to be gentle with each other. And what we all need now are more dialogues and fewer diatribes. 

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by GL | 4/23/2022