Hope this thread doesn't backfire or start a brushfire, but I have been wondering about something for some time now?
DH and I have been married for 37 years (first and only marriage for both), no 2-legged kids but lots of "kids with 4-leggs and furry bodies" through the years. Lately, when I talk with friends the conversation is so stilted and limited. It starts out with the usual, then proceeds into health concerns and then the body of it revolves around the grand children's activities...
I do understand that it is the main focus of their lives now days but really? After listening to a entire week of "well, we went to ***'s volleyball game on Tuesday, then ****'s soccor game Wednesday, then a double header on Thursday and, wow, we have five different matches to go to on Saturday, in order to see everyone play, we are going to have to run, I start to tune out.
I realize that we don't have children so no grandchildren but, what about other things in life? And, btw, I played many sports when I was younger, but my parents never centered their lives around them and I would not have wanted them to do so.
We are still interested in so many things and active ~ reading, learning, classes at the community college, involvement with civic service clubs, travel and new experiences in general but it seems that I am totally out of touch with so many others my age who no longer have anything to add to the conversation other than what "little Johnny or Susie" did last night in whatever athletic team sport happened to be the most recent.
Yes, I know the answer is just to enjoy the company of those more in touch with my interests today, but that it isn't the point of this thread. I just wondered if any of the rest of you have noticed this trend? To be honest, I MISS SO MANY OLD FRIENDS who longer seem to have a life of their own ~ they used to have such interesting thoughts, lives and feelings to share ~ but, now, they are just living vicariously through others.
Maybe that is the way it's supposed to be and I'm not saying that it's wrong; just wondered if any of you have encountered the same thing. I can't be the only one ~ or am I?
Gosh, IR, I don't know. I don't really keep in touch with many old friends so haven't experienced that. The moms that I am close to now have children about the same age as ours (even though I'm an older parent) and I guess a lot of our conversations really do revolve around the kids and their behaviors.
It's kind of funny for me but the play dates that my kids have with the children of these two moms are really as fun for me as they are for the kids. I totally enjoy the company of these two moms.
The one lady who helps me at work is a little older than I am and we do converse about many different things, a lot of current events and heartfelt things. She has grandchildren a little younger than my kids but does not talk about them to any excessive degree that I've noticed anyway.
Well, I look forward to reading the replies here. :-)
I can understand completely what your going through. I never was able to have children, I did loose alot of friends because of their insensitivity towards me, I did ask some of them to try to be more sensitive to me because it hurt me so bad that I was missing out in life being unable to have children. One of my child hood friends that I reconnected with after 25 years, all she could talk about was her kids, grandkids and I finally started to go on & on about my fur babies one day & I knew she was bored hearing me, then I said to her This is what you do to me with your kids, etc.
She said she never realized what she was doing, now when we talk we avoid the subject unless it something serious going on with any of them. Try to talk to them about your feelings, you may be surprised also,how unaware they are. I look forward to others replies. Great post !!
Maybe you just need some NEW friends, with interests of their own to share, not just living through their other family members?
I recall going to an Art camp 20 years ago, and having a similar experience with other ladies who wanted to show me photos of their kids or grand kids and tell me about them. WHY? I wanted to get to know them...not their families.
I did not even carry photos of my two kids or DH, let alone share their events and activities, (not because they were not attractive, neat kids and a great DH) This was a time for US as artists, individually.
(Maybe rudely), I told them to put the photos away and tell me about THEM...not their kids and grand kids. Some were dumbfounded, others became lifelong friends. Go figure.
Had to add, many folks often do not feel their lives are worthy of any conversation about activities or things of interest. This is why they tend to dwell on "how busy they are running around doing, going, getting for others". Maybe we all need to be just more determined to find out about them, and allow them to realize they are living a life (making choices), not just existing in a tornado of others activities?This message has been edited. Last edited by: conrad,
1st DH and I were childless for about 11 years...not by choice. Friends and relatives talking about their children did not bother me at all. The only cutting remark that I remember was from my mother-in-law who could not understand why we had not had any children to date. She knew the reason - it just had not happened.
My husband (her son) turned to her and told her that we were not going to have children. He would stick to raising hounds. If one didn't turn out right he could sell it. She never asked again.
If an acquaintance asked if we had children, I would reply, "We are still practicing" and bat my eyes.
But my suggestion to you is to get one of those accordion photo wallets and fill it full with photos of your pets. When the conversation stays on grandchildren and how busy they are following them from one event to another...whip out that photo wallet and let it unfold. Start regaling them with the cute episodes and the enjoyment you have received.
Does this hat make my butt look big?
IR I just finished a long thoughtful response to your inquiry which got pulled a/c a trigger word.
I evidently have a lot to say so here is another long response!
The other day we went to vote in our local h.s. and as they had an art display we stopped to look at the pottery, photography, drawing, painting etc. Aside from painting and drawing none of these other studies were available in my h.s. But I attended school in a big city and this is a wealthy small town. This is also 60 years later.
the students in the school were dressed in cut off shorts and such garb. In our school days it was forbidden to wear anything but skirts or trousers (for boys) no jeans. A girl who got pre (you know) had to leave school immediately.
These are three minor examples of the difference between the generations. In my days as a child or even as a mother, children were not the focus of adult attention. However we had much more freedom to explore, roam, be creative totally on our own.
Also IR, think of the societal changes that have taken place in the last generation or two. Mostly I think it is for the good of all. My grandchildren have poise and confidence and self assurance that would have been unknown to many of my generation. They get this because they do have so much adult attention and care.
I don't know the reason you do not have children in your life but despite the difference that makes between you and your friends, that is only one difference that can exist between people who are otherwise loving and interested friends or relatives.
Maybe besides the children/grandchildren issue it would be helpful to consider just how much else you do have in common with the people you write of? We have very good friends who do not have grandchildren. They do express interest in ours, but ours have never lived near us (well my granddaughter does attend a nearby college)
but there are many areas of life we do not share interests in. They were dead heads and we like classical music, they are very frugal. We are not. There are many interests we can not discuss with them. However there is the strong bond of long acquaintanceship and affection.
I think every individual or couple stands apart from the main body of their acquaintanceship. It can be re li gion, po lit ics, life style, interests, hobbies, activities.
For instance I am an at eis t in a family of believers. Naturally I do not agree with anything they say of a re lig ious nature. However we accept this difference as we accept the differences between the main body of our family and those who for one reason or another stand apart (this can be rac e, se xual orie ntat ion etc).
Do not be so sure that your old friends are not still the interesting, self actualizing people you have always known. I bet if you scratched a little beneath the surface of their commentaries you would find they are not so eager to attend all those activities. One of my sisters lives very near a son and his family. They often see way more of these beloved grandchildren than they secretly wish to.
And I remember this same sister whose daughter's Christmas concert she fully expected our mother to attend joyfully year after year, when our Mother had totally had it with them!
Personally I love my grandchildren so much and find my relationship with them the most satisfying of lives experiences but a week or so ago when we "had" to attend our DGD's modern dance recital at college, even we could hardly restrain our laughter (unlike the boys sitting behind us!)
So every relationship is somewhat compromised it is just that the reasons differ.
But you are totally right IR in recognizing that child rearing today is a very different thing than formerly.This message has been edited. Last edited by: lady of shallot,
IR, I know exactly how you feel and a good friend and I have gone our separate ways because of it. Her 4 kids have all married now there are grandchildren where as mine are still single (any eligible bachelors out there-LOL) and no grandchildren. It got so bad that during phone conversations she would baby talk to the baby while I was left hanging on the phone. There wasn't a lunch date that didn't come with piles of new pics of the baby. It's like my friend died and someone else inhabited her body. I guess we just weren't on the same life page anymore.
Sadly, for some people family is their only life- constant get togethers, dinners, attending every sporting event, etc. I say "sadly" because they have limited their exposure to family only and are missing out on really getting to know some neat people in this great big world we live in. I love my friends and there are a handful of women who I confide in and vice versa and probably they know me better than my family. I've always felt you are born with your family, but you choose your friends for life.
Our DS and DIL live in our town about a half hour away from us. We manage to see them at least a couple of times a month. When we're in town we will attend some sporting events, but certainly not every one and certainly don't feel the need to watch their practices. DH and I have our own active social life with friends and we treasure those moments greatly.
So IR, you've been given a couple of ideas to try out with those folks. If after a few months of trying some new tactics and all they want to do is talk family, then it's time to put that friendship on a back burner, because they're obviously not that interested in you or what you used to have with each other. Guess in addition to helicopter parents, we now have helicopter grandparents. Family is important but it isn't the only thing. Good luck.
No, it's not only you, I've also noticed that with some people. However, friendship's like plants need to be nurtured or they wither and die. Do you go out to social events with these people? That might give more conversational topics. Otherwise if you no longer have anything in common you may have to go your separate ways. If friendships become one-sided they are not satisfactory for anyone.
I like the idea of having an album with pics of your 4 legged 'kids'. And if that doesn't work I think it's acceptable to tell her how you feel. It might revive the friendship and if not, what have you lost? I actually did that when one of my friends was obsessing about a member of her family who was 'bugging' her. I said I didn't think it was healthy for her to talk about that person all the time and I didn't want to hear about it anymore. She knew I was right, we're still friends, and I don't hear much about him anymore!
Another thing I wonder is if you have always been a listener in your relationship with this person. In interacting with people we adopt various roles and if you have always listened more than talked with her it may be that she has little else to talk about. You may have to introduce new topics which she may welcome.
I don't even talk non-stop about my Grands with their parents (my kids)! None of them live nearby but when we talk on the phone we catch up with what the kids are doing then we have adult conversations about what we are doing and what's going on in the world.
"I have always had an aversion to the concepts of in style and out of style." ~Rose Tarlow
Inspirational pics: http://inspiration4u.shutterfly.com/
I wish the people I associate with had cute grandchildren stories.
Instead, it's a constant stream of recounts of illnesses, operations, "meds", and all the people they've ever known with something similar.
I will gladly trade you!
WHEW.... Wipes forehead with arm in relief!
I was so concerned that some might take my comments in the wrong way that I almost didn't check back in to see any posts in response. I'm glad I did and have enjoyed reading all of the very thoughtful responses everyone has posted.
I did want to make one thing clear. The fact that DH and I don't have children/grandchildren isn't a problem at all and it doesn't bother me when others are centered on theirs. In other words, I'm not at all sensitive about the subject. I only revealed that, in full disclosure, that perhaps I didn't "get it."
But, based on the posts so far, it seems that many of you have experienced similar things which is really what I wanted to know!
I thought maybe it was the area of the country where I live ~ that maybe adults centering their lives around the activities of their grandchildren might be unique to where I live but I see now that it isn't....
Keep the discussion going ~ I look forward to hearing more thoughts on the subject from anyone who wants to chime in!
ETA: I guess the subject, to me, is whether or not others have noticed that some people, as they begin to age, have very few new ideas or topics of conversation and become fixated on their health issues and/or seem to lose sense of who they are and begin, instead, to live through the lives of others?This message has been edited. Last edited by: Idaho Resident,
ONe of the groups I belong to is 7 women and we go out to dinner once a month. 4 have grandkids, 3 of us don't. Two of us don't even have D or SILs yet.
Those with grandkids carry the obligatory grandma photos and we always send those around the table, they go back in the handbags and that's it. Then we talk about work, hot news of the community, student antics in their classrooms, which citizen has been moved in or out of the detention facility, what's creating a raucus at church, help each other out with recipes and I answer the health questions. We wind up the evening to find out where the next vacation or trip will be to and drag ourselves out the door to go home. The two hours sometimes turns into 3.
Instead of my long winded, broad answer, I will answer your question more simply. I have to say my experience is no. Maybe that is because I have never lived in my birth city or because my 2 very good friends here are from away too. My third BFF lives far away from me. She & I have known each other since grade school. The other two are shorter friendships, only about 40 + years each.
I have never had a crowd of friends, whose relationship was based on work or church or school etc. Or rather I have had but once that activity ceased so did the relationships.
Although my friends may know each other they are generally not friends with each other.
It might be kind of fun IR for you and your husband to pretend that the people you are talking about behaved in the way you would find interesting. Maybe you won't be able to imagine it because you are not there anymore either. It might also be that you and your husband have become richer in your interests, experiences, knowledge etc and your old friends have not had the leisure, need, desire to expand their horizons in the way that you have.This message has been edited. Last edited by: lady of shallot,
This is an interesting topic. I don't have any grandchildren and am certainly old enough to have them - but my adult children, in their 30's & 40's, do not have any children as of yet.
But as to people talking about their families - then, that's what is the center of their lives. And it's their choice. I don't usually cultivate friendships with people who seem dull or boring to me - or with whom I cannot share good conversation and similar activities.
Thus, instead of bemoaning the lives of people with whom you have little in common, I would suggest expanding your circle of activities and interests - then, friendships with like-minded people is more apt to occur. I've been retired for over 10 years - and I am very active in several groups - none of them church anymore, and I'm amazed that I continue to find and make friends. But I do. However, an effort must be made - and these other "friends" must be placed on a shelf - cherished for the good times you once shared together. You need to come to a realization that different people grow at different paces - and expand their circle of activity and interest as appropriate - and others, are more satisfied - content - to make no effort outside of their own intimate family circle.
Again, thanks for responses ~ all are so thoughtful and thought-provoking when it comes to this subject!
I think I have found the answer based on these responses and it is two-fold. Yes, some peoples world shrinks and the world of others expands as we age.
Clearly, this is a forum where many women come (men, too!) to talk about everyday concerns so I hoped my topic would be accepted in the way it was offered and it was. Thank you. I do have to say, however, that most posters here are clearly in the second category....
I have loved reading so many different perspectives on the same subject and have taken them to heart as I hope others will as well. The bottom line, I guess, is that I am afraid that once some people reach a "certain" age (not sure what that age is?), they feel that their time has come and gone so it's time to get attention by talking about health issues and/or concentrating on the grandchildrens' activities so that "they are still relevant and still there."
So, in a nutshell, that's why I started this thread. I just wanted to know if any others have noticed this trend ~ a trend where vivacious and lively individuals have submerged their own personalities to "fit the mold" of someone older getting older who is deferred to, revered and ignored to the point that they have come to believe that is where they belong in today's society.
Love the discussion that we are able to have here and hope that it is something that, perhaps, some of the rest of you can relate to ~ as always, post your thoughts ~ can't wait to read them!
Well, I turn 69 tomorrow and nothing angers me more than to be referred to as old or elderly. I hear that so much in newscasts and print. I hope not to be old until I'm 80 and I firmly think age is a state of mind. Yes I have some body parts that don't function at top speed anymore, but I'm not ready to be put out to pasture and dwell only that. I don't mind if someone reveres me, but don't ignore me
I hope i never get to the point that my world is centered only on my kids and grandkids. I love them dearly, but there is more to life. I know of two women, in my age group. They each had a child late in life. Our kids grew up together and these two each have a middle schooler as well as grown kids and grands. I have often wondered what they will do when they have an empty nest as their worlds revolve around their kids. If i run into them, that is the only thing they talk about.
Sad example. A couple here , high school sweethearts, had 2 daughters. They were the parents whose world centered on them. Those girls wanted for nothing. The parents were at each and every one of their events, as were the moms parents. Like pampered girls often do, these girls went wild. One was killed along with her boyfriend in an alcohol related crash. The grandmother just wasted away and died. The parents, are a mess. Dad let his business go and is consumed by hate for the driver of the vehicle. Their house is in foreclosure, and ive heard they split up.
This was a family whose lives focused only on their kids. The other daughter married and lives all the way across the country with their only grandchild. So now there is nothing left.
I cant imagine the pain of losing a child. Especially to a senseless tragedy. But i suppose when that is your world and they are gone, there is mothing left to hold on to.
I can relate but on a different topic...travel.
Though we have one wonderful grown son and currently two adorable granddaughters we generally don't raise the topic of family unless asked. It must be noted that all our friends have kids and grand kids. That being said, we grandparents are typically a proud and often bragging lot, but I agree that we should be aware of those around us whom we know are childless for various reasons. In fact, I did not have our son till 9 years after we were married so we were late in the game so to speak and consequently we were exposed to others sharing their children's latest accomplishments, but it was our choice to wait and therefore we soaked up these stories for later reference.
I agree that if this exposure tends to become bothersome that you and your spouse should seek out groups that you can better identify with. Since your interests and passions are broad, focus on groups that concentrate on those.
I also recommend volunteer opportunities that extend beyond self and reap great rewards. Perhaps big brothers/sisters or a children's hospital can benefit from your talents and time while you and your DH will gain a newfound sense of the experiences your current friends relay. In fact, their fluff stories of their children's milestones will pale compared to your heartwarming stories.
BTW, since you love pets, perhaps you can begin a program at a local hospital where you bring in a friendly pet to a children's cancer ward to help cheer them. Just a thought. Doing something similarly to a nursing home might appeal to you more.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Froo Froo,
[quote]The bottom line, I guess, is that I am afraid that once some people reach a "certain" age (not sure what that age is?)
This is so sad. Today DH came up the basement stairs saying he had too many interests and he would never live to finish his projects!
But then later today I was engaging in an activity with 7 other women. Some of them are extremely busy with different activities and yet they are not actually so interesting as friends/acquaintances because of that. I think having an open mind and being willing to consider different ways of being in this world and being willing to engage in pleasant yet meaningful conversation is a better asset than whatever activities one does or doesn't engage in!
Kind of like this discussion for instance.This message has been edited. Last edited by: lady of shallot,
Idaho, I always loved your posts, they were always right on the mark. You sound very much like me, I'd love to be your new friend! When are you coming up north? I have no grands yet, just one daughter and I never bore people by talking about her. Besides, she hates sports.
I can and will bore you to death about my two wonderful cats however....
I really agree with you, and personally can't stand to hear people talk about their 'grands' constantly. I think you need to try and find brand new friends that share your interests and are interesting and interested in you! Good Luck!!!
SPRING HAS F I N A L L Y SPRUNG!!!!!
Thanks again for all of the wonderful posts but I need to make something clear. I wasn't talking so much about the grandparent/grandchild sporting events or the old friends that I miss or the fact that so many have limited conversations ~ their health and/or living vicariously through others.... as much as I was speaking to the fact that, it seems, so many have willingly relegated themselves to the back row but, in a rather passive/agressive way, hoping that someone will tell them that they are fine just the way they are!
I simply don't have the words to explain anymore but am grateful that there are so many of you out there who are thinking about the subject. I agree (as I stated in my first post) that people should meet new people with whom they have common interests, do some new things like the therapy animals and other ideas.
I am very fortunate in that I have a number of new friends with whom I have a lot in common ~ but I love the offers from some of you as well!
Bottom line, I guess I just wanted to know how many of you have experienced what I have ~ people who are no longer the people they used to be ~ but I am sure that it is all good. Everyone walks their own path...
PS. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MAMASPOON!!!
Thank you Idaho Resident!! Your thread reminded me of a song we sang in Girl Scouts oh so long ago-"make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other is gold".
NO, it's not just you! I was also one of those "strange" women who never wanted children either. I have been caught up in many family conversations where babies and children were the only topic discussed. When I get enough I usually get up and go outside or find something else to do. Thank G.od now I have friends that have dogs, garden, travel, cook, enjoy the arts and are old enough that their children are all adults.
DH's daughter is expecting their firstborn in 2 months. I guess I'll be hearing all the news on a daily basis when the time comes. Maybe I'll teach her to garden. This message has been edited. Last edited by: zone9alady,
Whether You Think You Can Or You Think You Can't..... You're Right - Henry Ford
No, it's not just you. DH and I got married in our teens and had our children very young. So after 43 years of marriage our kids are grown and our grandkids are teenagers. Most of our neighbors are older than we are but have young grandkids. And I know how you feel, they want to talk about their grandkids all the time. But I'm really not interested in their grandkids activities.
I also remember when we were raising our kids, some of the moms that stayed at home long after their kids started school. These moms had nothing to talk about except what their kids did. These turned out to be very boring conversations
Hmmmm.... this is starting to be offensive. I hope you're not implying that stay at home moms are boring.
I'm finding this thread to be a put down to those of us that have children and look forward to having our grandchildren. If you don't like the friends that you've had for years because now they have grandchildren and know a wonderful new dimension to their lives then why do you spend the time writing about them here?, Why don't you just not see them anymore? You've written about your six cats and how you love them and were so concerned that you would lose one, why can't you understand that same compassion a grandparent would have about their own flesh and blood? It's only natural that a person wants to share their love for another person with another person, I don't understand the animosity you have of someone simply wanting to share their joy with you, so that somehow you could see the love in a small child too. To me, it's lovely they want you to partake in such a beautiful gift, they are sharing their most precious treasure with you, you have to view it through their eyes, not yours. Friendship is a two-way street. When I'm on my de@th bed, I'd rather be surrounded by the love of my grandchildren than those that can recite to me what happened at the last meeting at the historical society.
Hi, Spanish Revival! Wondered when you would show up and I assume Aiychachua (sp?) will follow soon as well? Always someone who wants to blast someone else whenever a person starts a new thread with a new topic that might cause people to reflect and think...
I have bent over backward throughout this whole thread to say that everyone walks their own path, that it's great that others have granchildren and such - not so great that they have health issues - BUT my point was whether or not I was the only one that has noticed that the conversation of others has become quite limited as they get older.
I've enjoyed reading ALL of the responses and now realize that I am not the only one who has experienced this but, you are right that many enjoy talking about the grandkids; I enjoy their stories as well but you've missed the point of the entire thread.
Just a general disclaimer here ~ I NEVER want any thread that I start to become offensive to anyone at any time. And I apologize in advance if anything posted seems offensive to you as well as the topic vearing off-topic as it often does in threads/message boards.
Bottom line, I celebrate all of you who post (and those who lurk! ), and am very thankful to have a forum where so many of us across the country can come together to share experiences - whatever those experiences might be.
As a mother of 4 and grandmother to 4(2 here and 2 on the way) i have to say they are everything to me. However, as i stated i have never understood women who are never able to discuss or have any interests in their lives beyond their children or grandchildren and their activities.
If someone asks, i'm more than happy to share about them and show pictures, but i do hold conversations about other things.
That is what this discussion is about . Those of you who want to make it into something offensive should just scroll on by.....
Wow, Spanish, you're reading something into this discussion I missed!
I read that IR finds it sad that some people talk about their children and grandchildrn and health ad nauseum.
It's not only older people- I have a niece in her 30's who's big topic of conversation is her 4 kids sports. Even her mother doesn' want to talk to her about it.
Sounds to me like IR's friends are in a huge rut. IR, can you try to re-direct the conversations? Ask them what they're reading, have they been to any good resturants, travel, etc?
As for stay at home moms being boring? Some people are just boring, unfortunately.
I love this thread!
I didn't read what gardenqueen said as a put-down to stay-at-home-moms. I was one of those and take no offense at what she posted. Nor do I read that any of this is a put-down to mothers and grandmothers.
IMHO any time we totally wrap ourselves in one facet of our lives and "regal" everyone else with recent escapades - not everyone is going to be interested.
It is not animosity. I have a son. I have two stepchildren. I have three grandchildren. But who else cares that little Johnny or Jane went wee-wee in the potty for the very first time? The entire family was in the bathroom and we all applauded and sang "Hallelujah!"
Does this hat make my butt look big?
Okay, well that was nasty! Look, these boards are for everyone to express an opinion, you've said that many times to me. When another poster admonished me for playing with my children when they were young and accused me of being a stay at home "RICH" mom with nannies, (not true), you told her it was a great conversation and that's what this board is all about, it's a "safe" place for us ladies to say what we mean. Seems you have one set of rules for yourself and another for posters you don't care for... me. And for you to include another poster, aychi, in your salty comment is another example of your narrow mindedness and disdain for people that express an opinion that isn't glorifying your post. Charming frequently follows after your posts or you after hers, you don't see me trying to degrade her on these boards in front of others because she supports your ideas... do you? And you have one thing right... it is sad, sad that you are of the mind these boards are for your enjoyment alone. In the future I suggest if you have a bone to pick with me, do it with me and don't drag other people, whom I don't even know, into it. I'm not here to play music to your ears IR, I'm here to express myself as well. You've "dogged" many of my posts, and I've said nothing to you about it, I let it roll off my back. It was an opinion, and you were asking a question, I was answering in MY way, not YOURS.
Geeez people! I don't see any put downs here. This is mainstream subject matter. How many movies or TV shows have you seen where a person is introduced to a mother or father and that person pulls out an accordion fold wallet of 50 or so photos of their kids and the new person stands there and painfully obliges to look and make nice comments. Has this never happened to you? It's the same as inviting friends over to look at old home movies that they've probably seen a dozen times.
All I got from this thread is that friends and family should have more to talk about than their children. After an hour or so of updating little Johnny's and Jane's accomplishments there should be other things to talk about.
I love my two furbabies, but I'm sure that most people don't want to hear me discuss every story I have about them when they come over.
And yes, I do consider stories of my pets as meaningful to me as others stories about their two legged children.
Whether You Think You Can Or You Think You Can't..... You're Right - Henry Ford
Okay folks, let's all play nice in the sandbox.
IR had a situation and was merely inquiring if it was her problem alone of if others have similar dealings.
I'm going to flip this over to a different angle on the situation and my opinion:
I have married into one of the most oddball families that exist. My own family is far from perfect, don't get me wrong.
A MIL who blathered on about wanting grandkids and then once they arrived, it ended up she was annoyed by their presence and found endless lame excuses to avoid them or participate in the big events of their lives.
The siblings don't seem to care much about those closest to them (even my DH doesn't show much interest in our childrens' lives (so I pick up the slack for him), they don't ask of others regarding their health, goings on, etc. Just basically a lack of knowledge about how to care for others and poor social conversation skills.
My SIL is an old maid. She has a professional career in a predominately female-only office at the university. You guessed it!
She divulged to me and another cousin how she abhors the Monday morning obilatory back-to-work how-was-your-weekend, this-is-what-I-did casual office conversation and just as badly hates having to listen to the married mothers she works with talk about their families.
I really was on my toes that day and let her hear how I felt she was being addled-minded and uncaring for those she works with closely. I admonished her for what I basically feel is a "I don't give a rat's a-s about you" personality. I went on to explain that this is the most normal of conversations in the office settings no matter where you work, it is polite to listen to our colleagues' harmless banter and build on the working relationship by showing that you care about them.
All this being said, I do believe there can exixt a nice balance of conversation between those who have and don't have children. In fact when I ask an acquaintance about her husband, children, parents that I know, I'd expect the same questions from her of me. I've been a little hurt on occasion when the conversation is one-sided and we only talk about their kids and my opportunity to tell about ours isn't proffered.
When I visit with friends whose lifestyles don't mimic mine, I try very hard to inquire about topics I'm aware of in their lives to keep them included in the conversation.
But I agree with IR, it's unfortunate some folks dominate the conversation with only one or two topics, when they should realize there is little common ground between them. Even after you avoid politics, religion and other taboo discussions, after you've shared the brief kids and grandkids update, hit the high spots about problematic health issues, talked about the recent community happenings, losses, etc., there are still a miriad of interesting discussions to be shared.
So mix it up and keep it lively!This message has been edited. Last edited by: Lurah,
I skipped a lot of the posts, and I'm focusing on IR's original.
Our interests change over the years. I don't have any 2 legged children of my own, but I do have Steps. They were almost grown when I met their father. So I have vicariously enjoyed lil Johnny and Susie's exploits from afar. Much easier for some of us.
I could be time to start cultivating new friends. Why were you friends originally? Any particular thing that brought you together? If not, just proximity, think about where you are in your life and what you want to explore. From that - make new friends who share the same goals and interests as you.
I am fortunate that I am very active in a large service organization. I have friends and acquaintances all over the world. We always have something in common to discuss.
Perhaps your love of cooking you could take a class at the local college or check out the OSHER programs at your local college.
On a personal note, I'm also fortunate that my friends who have children and grandchildren have more interests in their lives than how a 12 year old spends her weekend. It is good to catch up on their activities, but I'm also interested in more than their off spring.
I do miss the environment when I grew up. My mother worked outside the home sometimes but most of my friends moms' didn't. That didn't keep them from throwing us out of the house during the day and on the weekend and allowing us to figure out the best was to fill our time and not get in trouble. They had much more respect for our abilities than the average parent today. But we didn't have 24/7 programs and emails warning everyone of stranger danger.
That is about the only thing from the "good ole days" that I actually miss.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Charming,
Although I understand exactly the point IR was making and asking us to comment on, it couldn't help but evoke other questions in my mind.
For instance do you think any of Mrs. Middleton's friends will grow tired of her talking about her new grandchild?
then too, as all adults differ so do all children. My family is coming for this weekend. However this is a very bad time for my 17 year old grandson to go away as he is editing a film he shot on Viet Nam! (this for a school project) actually his interests now exceed my ability to completely understand them!
Many kids are themselves fascinating and interesting conversationalists.
IR,perhaps you should be thankful your friends have children and grandchildren to talk about since so few people seem to read any good books these days and the only other topics are relig*** and polit*** which will REALLY explode in your face. I don't have any grandchildren, but the only safe topic for me to discuss with my own mother is our dogs!!!!
This has been an extremely interesting thread to follow. So many opinions and ideas.
I do get bored with people who endlessly talk about their children and grandchildren and then all their illnesses. I try to bring up different subjects but if that doesn't work, I just find someone else to talk to. Many people don't have many interests and live in a world that is extremely limited. They can't imagine that others aren't interested in their lives.
It doesn't matter if you are a stay at home mom or work outside the house, there are plenty of things to talk about.
I just avoid people who discuss their illnesses constantly. Enough already. Get a life and you won't feel so bad!
As for the parents and grandparents who can't stop talking about their kids, well find someone else to bore since I ask what's new and then expect a short response unless there's really something major in their lives that they wish to discuss. Life is too short to be spent with boring self-centered people.
Still reading this thread . . . . and I welcome everyone's comments . . . . not everyone has to agree. But I just thought of something that I did about 5 years ago to get out of the rut of listening to people talk about their own lives and children without any other outside interests. I got a new circle of much younger friends - that certainly did the trick for me. I'm also a very involved political activist who takes an interest in my community - and I just started playing duplicate bridge a year ago. I follow the news and issues important to the community and attend meetings which ask for community input - thus, I could attend meetings every single day of the week if I so chose. I also attend my year of subscription symphony and opera concerts and also attend plays mounted by a local theater company. And then - there are museums and community events - too much to even begin to list - just look at the listings of community events in your newspaper. So much to see, do, and take part in. If I had grandchildren, I'd take them with me - and get them involved too. Life is too short - seize the day and make a difference - leave a legacy for your families.
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