How do you keep your parents and extended family member’s opinions out of your relationship so they doesn’t negatively affect it?
Dear Concerned Fiancé,
Since the beginning of time family, parents in particular have always had opinions about who their children should date or marry because, of course, they want the very best for them.
Muva has seen “family meetings” where a certain mate was either discussed in glowing terms, or shredded and buried because of something that was felt after meeting them.
Which is why we often use an abundance of caution before dragging anyone to meet our mommas, because Momma KNOWS! She hones in like a beacon, and we always pray that she likes who we bring to her, so we can move forward in peace with a sigh of relief.
Here is the rub – unless you are in imminent danger beyond a broken heart, most parents should allow their children to learn through their experiences, after giving advice with caution. What is unhealthy occurs when parents become too involved, by showing up uninvited, and calling several times a day. Some even go further–to forcing their children to choose between the parents or the person they love through their actions.
To stop these boundaries from being crossed, here are a few tips:
–Keep your relationship and what happens in it out of their mouths by being quiet. Handle your disagreements between the two of you and resist the urge to call anyone in your family.
–Keep them out of your business, because they will always choose your side and end up resenting your mate long after you resolved whatever it was to begin with. That only leads to tension and uncomfortable family gatherings.
–If you still have to call family members each time you have an issue with said mate, you are simply not ready, or a glutton for punishment.
Life happens when you decide to be with someone long term. Work out the things that are negotiable and hunker down for the long haul.
Truth be told, while family members are giving you side eyes and judging you, they have a few hidden experiences of their own.
Thank them for their opinions and move on in love.
I genuinely care about my friends, but when someone dies [that] they love, l find it difficult to show up because l am afraid of what to say or do. Does that make me an awful friend?
I gave serious consideration to your question, by asking a few people, and the responses varied.
Some people take offense when they are grieving and as a friend, that they have not heard from you, and that you do not show up for them in their time of need. It feels like more pain, in addition to what they are already experiencing, and it may affect your friendship moving forward, depending on the person. We never forget the silence of our friends in times of need.
Others say that they would prefer to be alone after funeral services are held so they can grieve – but a phone call or card during the process helps immensely. That grieving process varies, so be patient and quietly there should they need you.
It can be tough when we do not know what to say, but the bottom line is this – if that person is truly a friend, show up in any small way that you can. It makes all the difference in the world to the person who is grieving.
Now, in FULL transparency, Muva can identify with both scenarios.
Years ago, one of Muva’s dearest friends in the world, called in tears to say her parent died suddenly of a heart attack. While Muva was there for the condolences, attended the funeral and stayed until the last person left from the repast, once she drove home, she was so at a loss of what to do next, she chose silence, and did not speak to her friend for an entire year! It still hurts her heart thinking about what she did, but once she was CLEAR, disappearing was not the answer. She called and apologized to her friend, who was gracious and understood.
More importantly though, since that time, whenever Muva encounters death, she not only shows up with one of her favorite island dishes, she is a shoulder, a listening ear, and a collector of tears, because no one should ever be bereft AND alone – no matter how long they choose to grieve. It is okay to ask HOW you can support, instead of the droll, “call me if you need anything.” It may sound good to your ears, but many see those words as a “cop out.” Don’t be THAT friend. Now, go forth in kindness, transparency, and love.