Dear L.A. Plume:
We became close friends with a couple who moved into our community about four years ago. We did a lot of mutual entertaining. Last spring, the husband surfaced at our house and asked for their house keys back because they were making changes to their alarm system. The keys were never returned, and we gradually stopped hearing from them. My wife is upset because she feels that perhaps she did something wrong. The truth is, they have distanced themselves from everybody in the community. My wife isn’t giving up on this and wants to call them to “clear the air”. I say nay. If they have become peculiar, or don’t want us to know something, that’s no skin off our noses. What do you think?
It is my experience that women are often more prone to want to “fix” things in relationships, or at least understand them. Some things, however, are just not worth fixing. People unfailingly tell us who they are within minutes of meeting them; we just don’t pay attention. This couple, by their behavior, has told you who they are. If, by some odd chance, your wife did something wrong, these people didn’t think highly enough of her to ameliorate the situation. I agree with you, let it be. Tell her to silently say to them: “Thank you for showing me who you truly are,” and let it go.
Dear Ms. Plume,
It’s not a social thing, but could you please address the deadly sin of jealousy? Jealousy is such a driver in relationships, people never seem to realize that partners will do as they please regardless, and that jealousy is the result of their own insecurity.
Dear Worried 29910,
I couldn’t have said it better myself. People need to look over their own shoulder and examine the motivation for their jealousy before they start throwing stones at glass houses.
Dear L.A. Plume,
I am so tired of hearing the same mundane conversations at social events! Would it be too much to ask people to widen their range? Talk of politics and their work is so boring. It is difficult to inform ourselves with so much misinformation on television, but an interesting opinion or fact thrown into the conversation helps to keep things interesting. People should arm themselves with at least three interesting conversation pieces before any social engagement. Do you agree?
Dear Mr. X,
Welcome back – we’ve missed your insightfulness! I’ve often wondered if people who keep recycling the same conversations ever actually listen to what other people are saying. Perhaps they just parrot each other because they are in a safe zone with like-minded people. They are the ones who just seem to talk on and on – and I can’t figure out how they can even form opinions if they never listen. But, tiresome diatribes aside, the best skill at a social function is to ask interesting questions and listen to the answers thoughtfully. What you have to say isn’t as artful, or often as interesting, to anyone else as listening to what they have to say.