Dear Annie: I’m a senior in college and live at home. My parents, especially my father, are controlling and overly attached to me. I’ve had enough and am planning on moving away the second I graduate, but my family doesn’t seem to get this. They tell me about graduate schools and full-time job opportunities in or near our town. They’ve offered to let me live rent-free in the house if I stay in the area after college.
These “suggestions” are starting to pile up, and graduation seems so far away. I can’t let myself fall into the same trap that got me to stay with them at the start of college. How do I say I’m leaving for good?
Nobody’s Baby Boy
Dear Nobody: Your parents don’t “get it” because they see no indication that you are leaving anytime soon. They’ll believe it when it happens. While many kids would appreciate their parents’ offer to stay rent-free, we agree that you should strike out on your own. Loving parents guide their children to be independent. You don’t need to keep saying you are moving out. Simply save your money and find a place you can afford, in whatever city you prefer. Research job and educational opportunities. What you cannot do is expect your parents to cover your expenses when you no longer live at home. Good luck.
Dear Annie: I’m a married female in my early 50s and haven’t had a real friend in more than 20 years. It’s not a question of meeting people. They just don’t seem to gravitate toward me. I’m considerate and clean and have a good sense of humor. I’m a bit on the shy and quiet side, but I’m friendly and a sympathetic listener. I have often made the first move and invited someone to join me for lunch. They accept and seem to enjoy our time together, but they never reciprocate. At work, everyone seems to buddy up with someone else, and though everyone appears to like me, I have no buddy of my own.
I’ve been to counseling twice and have read books on making friends, and neither has helped. I appreciate that I have a good marriage, a good job, great kids and a nice home, but the absence of just one good friend saddens me greatly. Do you have any advice?
Lonely for Friends
Dear Lonely: It can take a long time to get to know someone in middle age, when friendships are already entrenched from work, church and community. You would need to make a greater effort, inviting someone for lunch several times, before the comfort level promotes a closer friendship. In the meantime, please look into the Red Hat Society (redhatsociety.org) and meetup.com for people in your area who are actively looking to make new friends.
Dear Annie: Your answer to “Loved the Show, Disliked the Seat,” the person whose seat at a Broadway show was partially taken over by a “rather large” woman, was totally off the mark. You said to show tolerance. That’s absurd. The person whose personal seating space is being invaded needs to go to an usher or, better yet, to management and request another seat. Chair arms at performance spaces are there for a reason. If someone feels that he or she needs more space than the establishment has allotted, he or she should make arrangements for special seating.
Obese people are required to buy two seats on airplanes. Why not do the same for theaters and sports stadiums?
Been Sat On at a Performance, Too
Dear Sat On: Going to an usher or management is a perfectly valid way to address this. Unfortunately, it usually necessitates missing part of the show to locate someone in authority and finding equally desirable, unoccupied seats elsewhere. Charging double for theater seats is an argument we don’t have space for here.
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