Seeking a New Circle
Dear Annie: Please help, as I am out of ideas about what to suggest. I have a small group of friends whom I feel lucky to have known since secondary school.
The problem is that every time I suggest doing anything other than sitting around each other's houses drinking coffee -- with or without families -- I get shot down. "My car won't make it that far" or, "It's too expensive" or other similar excuses. Honestly, the list of complaints goes on and on, and we end up not doing anything.
I understand that it is possible that I have poor timing when I suggest we get together, but every single time?
We are all 34 years old with families and careers. It would be nice to go somewhere with the girls and have a giggle and finish a chat without children chipping in or having to change a diaper. Are we just to sit in one another's houses drinking coffee and watching the clock so we're not late for pickup of the kids? -- Always An Excuse
Dear Excuse: Just because they are your "old friends" from childhood doesn't mean they have to be your only friends. We all change as we grow up, very often having different interests than we had when we were young.
If your friends are always making excuses, then they not be the right friends at this time in your life to explore and have adventures with. If you are motivated to get together with friends, perhaps you should join a new moms group and see if you can find some like-minded people.
Dear Annie: "Feeling Like a Chicken" was concerned that her mother-in-law wanted to move in with her family.
The mother-in-law had just retired and was talking about selling her house. She may not yet know what to do with the extra time she has on her hands. The idea of a move and a new chapter -- living with her son's family -- may be giving her something to look forward to and be excited about. Or she may talk about selling her house because she has financial issues.
Whether she needs help with straightening out her finances, finding activities she enjoys, or making new friends (or dating), these are NOT good reasons to move in with her son's family.
Those and other possibilities could be explored in a gentle, lighthearted way when it fits into a conversation with her son alone or the son and wife together. Moving in with her son and his family will not fix the underlying issues in this new chapter of her life.
I have lived with my oldest son and his family twice, for months at a time, both times to help out when they had a lapse in child care. It only worked because we all knew it was temporary. Both my son and his wife had worked and lived with other people as roommates for years, so they were used to dealing with different personalities and approaches. They both have tremendous communication skills, and we have always been very close and open with each other.
I personally had to turn down a friend who needed long-term housing -- not because I didn't love her, but because I DID and wanted it to stay that way. I have no doubt our friendship would have ended had she moved into my home. It was a hard and seemingly hardhearted decision that gave us five more years of laughter, tears and memories until she passed away.
We choose many people in our lives as friends and also acquire more family members along the road of life. There are many people we can love and appreciate, but there are very few we can live with. -- Love Them Enough to Say No
Dear Love Them Enough to Say No: Thank you for telling us of your experience. Boundaries and communication are everything.
"How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?" is out now! Annie Lane's second anthology -- featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to email@example.com.