Angry outbursts spoil group’s enjoyment of spirited debates
DEAR ABBY: I frequently socialize with friends who like to participate in debates. We share different opinions on topics such as politics, geopolitical events, etc. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don’t.
The problem is “Bob.” When others don’t see things the way he does, he throws a fit. Once, it got so bad that one of my friends got up and left. Another time, while I was expressing my political view to the group, Bob made faces, rolled his eyes and attacked me with ridicule. I got very annoyed.
Bob DEMANDS that we listen to what HE has to say, but refuses to listen to others. He’s fine as long as you agree with him. But in this current climate, I’m expecting more eruptions. Abby, what do I do when the next fit erupts?
CAUGHT IN THE STORM
DEAR CAUGHT: The next time a “fit” erupts, call Bob on it and point out that what he’s doing is disrespectful. If he doesn’t stop, do as your other friend did. Get up and leave. Perhaps when Bob finds himself surrounded by an ever-shrinking audience, he will stop his overbearing performance. And if he doesn’t, at least you won’t have to suffer.
DEAR ABBY: We recently moved into a condo community of about a hundred units. A few weeks ago, a sign was anonymously posted on a car parked in a neighbor’s driveway complaining about the “smell” and “mess” in the car. I removed the sign only to find it replaced the next day. This has happened several times since.
I know nothing about this resident except that his car has not moved from the spot in the driveway. I am appalled by someone’s attempt to shame our neighbor. I plan to bring it up at our next association meeting, but is there anything else I can do?
DISAPPOINTED IN THE EAST
DEAR DISAPPOINTED: There could be reasons why the car in the driveway wasn’t moved — among them illness or an absent homeowner. By all means discuss this at the next homeowners’ meeting. And when you bring up the subject, suggest to the board that security cameras be installed for the safety of the residents and their property.
DEAR ABBY: When my husband and I go out in public, he doesn’t introduce me to people. I have told him more than once how it makes me feel. He introduces his sister or our children if they are close by. Because of this, I shrink away or speak very little when he talks to others. I also avoid attending social situations with him.
I don’t want to break our family up, but I feel like “nothing” around him. My husband seems happy with me at home. We don’t go out to dinner, but we do have some good friends. I’m not a trophy wife, but I think I’m a good catch. What can I do?
WIFE OF SUPERFICIAL HUSBAND
DEAR WIFE: What you can do when your husband “forgets” to introduce you is smile, speak up and say, “Hi, I’m ‘Janie,’ his wife.” And when you are in private, remind him that his failure to introduce you is rude, and you find it insulting.
Good advice for everyone — teens to seniors — is in “The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It.” To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447.