laplumeDear L.A. Plume,

We have some dear friends, but problems occur when he starts drinking with gusto.  He inserts politics into EVERYTHING – even during the funny Super Bowl ads! In fact, he repeatedly brings up politics at every social occasion, until recently, when I started ‘biting back’ with my own views, which I expressed in a haughty & rude manner just so he would back off. I also suspect his wife read him the riot act.

How can one handle the guest/friend who insists on broadcasting his views in ‘mixed company’, simply to get a rise out of the other guests/friends, and how does a polite guest firmly shut that conversation down before engaging in a fruitless argument? The funny thing is, conservatives often think I am more liberal than I really am, and visa versa. I was raised to believe that how you voted was a private matter and that discussing Religon/Money/Politics in a social setting was rude, so I am usually caught flat-footed when someone insists on broadcasting their views.



Dear Sandee,

I agree with you – it annoys me to no end when people try to insert their political views into every corner of a conversation. I have not found many polite ways to get them to back off; add alcohol and it seems like a locomotive gathering momentum has just entered the room.

Not everyone has the talent to “bite back” with rude and haughty behavior – three cheers for you, I wish I could have been there to watch – but the question is: did it work? Ignoring people in that situation usually doesn’t, trying to get them to change the subject is fruitless, and subtle sarcasm usually flies right over their heads. So I’m all for rude and haughty if that’s what it takes. Let me know.



Dear Ms. Plume,

Even to me this seems like a strange question, but you seem to have some insight into odd behaviors, so here goes. I have recently met a man and we are dating on occasion, which is strange in and of itself, but that’s another matter. Here’s the thing: When we greet each other, he extends his arms to me as if to give me a hug. However when I get into hugging range, he pulls me over to his right side and grabs my arm above the elbow as if he is going to steer me in some direction, our right shoulders touch and his cheek brushes mine and then he pushes me back. What is that all about?



Dear Confused,

First of all, thank you for the compliment, if that’s what it was. And I just happen to have a friend who declares himself to be an expert in hugging behaviors. There are three choices: the full frontal hug; the left side hug and the right side hug. You can’t hug someone right side to left side unless one of you is upside down (it’s true, think about it). The full frontal hug needs no explanation, but the left side hug puts your heart space in contact with the other person’s heart space. Therefore, logically, the right side hug is less intimate. As for the hand on the arm behavior – you assessed that correctly – he is doing that so he can control just how close you are and is in a position to steer you away.




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