Guess What: Not Everyone Is Kind
Dear Margo: My husband, our children and I recently moved to a new town. Through the children, really, I’ve met a group of women. They apparently are longtime friends, and one of them invited me to their Wednesday mothers group for lunch. I have to say, they were being kind of snippy to me, challenging things I said, and no one seemed welcoming or simpatico at all. I almost didn’t trust my own judgment because I was thinking: If they didn’t like me, why bother to invite me over? It almost felt like bullying — which I thought only happened to children. Can there even be grownup “mean girls”? I hope you don’t think, reading this, that I am hypersensitive or even making things up. — New Girl in Town
Dear New: Actually, I don’t. And yes, there can, indeed, be “grownup mean girls.” As with children, “the new kid” is often targeted. It happened to me when I was in early middle age and moved to a new city.
I became friendly with a woman who was a neighbor. She invited me to go to a spa with her and some good friends. I thought that would be wonderful — never having traveled with women before. Well, it wasn’t wonderful, and for reasons unknown to me, they seemed to be going out of their way to make me uncomfortable — especially my neighbor. At one dinner, things were so bad that I left the table, went to the ladies room and threw up. Like you, I thought: Why did they even bother to invite me? Then I saw on the spa literature that a group got 10 percent off for every new person they brought. I wondered why they hadn’t invited someone they liked to get the discount.
In any case, this is all by way of letting you know that the problem is not you; they are the problem. The reasons can be cliquishness, envy … or perhaps they really are just mean girls. It is a fact that some people are cruel without even knowing why. — Margo, discerning
When Lost Is Found…
Dear Margo: In 1965, my uncle gave up his son for adoption. His sister knew about the baby, but my dad, as the youngest, didn’t find out until my uncle died a few years ago. My uncle ended up getting married and having two other children who don’t know about their brother. My uncle’s sister and his biological son (her nephew) found each other on Facebook, and she wants to let my other cousins know that they have an older brother they have never met.
I agree that my cousins should have the opportunity to meet their brother, especially since he has posted publicly on Facebook that he is searching for his siblings and has already lost the chance to meet his biological father. I think my aunt should give my cousin his siblings’ phone numbers, or at least full names, so he can do with the information as he pleases.
My mom feels we should respect my uncle’s wishes that his wife and children never find out about his firstborn son. My dad thinks my grandma (my uncle’s mother) should be the one to tell my cousins about their older brother, and my brother just wants us to stay out of it. What do you think should be done in this situation? — Biological Cousin in Northern California
Dear Bio: Your uncle is gone, and the cat’s already out of the bag, if you’ll excuse that analogy in this context. The connection has been made, if only to a limited degree — although your family seems to know. I agree with your brother that the rest of you should stay out of it and let your late uncle’s sister decide who should know what. They were siblings, after all. Now, don’t you feel relieved? All the rest of you can mind your own business and not have to second-guess yourselves. — Margo, carefully
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Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via the online form at www.creators.com/dear-margo.html. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.
COPYRIGHT 2011 MARGO HOWARD
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