Life Advice



Ask Amy: Uninterrupted conversations lead to monologues

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Speakers might not be able to read your social silence as politeness, and if you aren’t occasionally offering an “Oh yes, I know exactly what you mean…” or a “Well, I understand your point of view, but I beg to differ,” then you are not really inviting a conversation, but settling in as audience members for a monologue.

Fortunately, it is not vital that you and your husband have the same conversational style. You might be a more engaged and lively listener, where he enjoys and is more comfortable enclosed in his bubble of self-righteous silence.

A spouse, partner, or family member can be extremely helpful in offering gentle (sometimes, not so gentle) course-corrections, because they observe social interactions with an intimate knowledge, and they notice patterns in behavior. Your husband can make suggestions, but he does not have the right to dictate how you should communicate with other people.

His own rigid listening style shows an impressive amount of tolerance toward other people. He should apply a measure of that to you.

Dear Amy: Why are so many middle-aged folks/baby boomers resistant to mental healthcare?

While millennials (like me) openly seek help for our issues, we watch our parents go in circles with the same issues — emotions, stress, social dysfunction — and insist they don't need help.


They are often defensive and hostile to the suggestion, saying, “It wouldn't work" even though they've never tried it.

For those of us who have put in some hard work on ourselves, it's hard to watch them go through the same patterns over and over and refuse to talk to professionals.

– Frustrated

Dear Frustrated: Even though I am of the generation you critique for not taking care of ourselves, I cannot reject your blanket assertion because I think you’re right!


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