March 20, 2011 in Features

Hax: Think about what you’re saying

Washington Post
 

While I’m away, readers give the advice.

On making comments about others’ food choices:

My daughter has life-threatening food allergies to a laundry list of common foods. She has to bring her own treats to birthday parties. She can’t get a full meal at a restaurant. She can’t get a snack at a movie theater. Adults are constantly telling her they feel sorry for her and telling me, often in her earshot, what a saint I am for making sure she has safe foods. Apparently a lesser parent would just hand their kid a burger and fries and not worry when the kid drops dead? Really?

Some of this has to come up; I can’t send her to a friend’s house without making sure the parents know not to give her anything to eat and she always travels with emergency medications. But pointing at her food? Asking the same question every week for two months straight? Telling my kid she’s lucky her parents haven’t killed her because keeping her alive takes a little more effort?

We all need to think before we comment on how other people live. – A.

On remaining engaged with the world despite loner tendencies: I’m not a social person, and I’ve been happily coupled for several years. I met her attending a party at a friend’s house under what I call “social exercising.” I don’t like going out, but I know doing it regularly is good for my psyche, much like how I exercise – even though I don’t always want to – because it’s good for my body.

When I was single, my “system” was always saying yes to a gathering where I knew I’d meet someone new. After two years of this system, I met a really awesome someone new and haven’t looked back.

I will always be someone who recharges by being alone, but being around other people in social situations helps me roll with the punches at work, in my relationship, with my family, and with a host of unexpected situations that inevitably arise living in a world with other people. – NOT a social person

On dating someone with a serious mental illness: I was diagnosed with depression in 1988 and have been dealing with it ever since. I wouldn’t wish chronic depression on my worst enemy. It takes tremendous will and energy to keep it in check even with medication and some therapy. I even think it contributed to my divorce back in 1993 because my ex just didn’t want to have to cope with it. The nicest thing people can say to me now is they can’t believe I have depression because I seem so happy.

Living with someone who suffers from depression is hard enough when they’re dealing with the illness. It’s impossible if they choose not to deal with it. A person can offer support and help, but cannot deal with the depression for a partner. Until a partner accepts his problem and takes steps to heal, he will just suck the life right out of the other person. – Mass.

E-mail Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com, follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ carolyn.hax or chat with her online at 9 a.m. each Friday at www.washington post.com.


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