Mother feels awk­ward at events

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - DETOURS - CAROLYN HAX ——— Carolyn Hax is a columnist with The Washington Post. Email her at tellme@wash­post.com.

Dear Carolyn: So I am an in­tro­vert, and it has taken me years to fi­nally ac­cept this and al­low my­self to be happy alone, rather than con­stantly try­ing to ap­pease my ex­tro­verted fam­ily with at­tempts to so­cial­ize that ul­ti­mately just made me feel like a wall­flower.

It isn’t that I don’t like peo­ple. I just don’t en­joy big par­ties. I love small get-to­geth­ers with good friends, or even a per­son I don’t know so well, as long as there is a chance to talk without feel­ing over­whelmed by the num­bers.

My son is like me, but my daugh­ter got the ex­tro­vert gene, and has more friends than hairs on her head. She seems to thrive in big crowds, and has no is­sues join­ing one and ask­ing to play, even when she does not know them. She is still at an age in which I need to su­per­vise her so­cial en­gage­ments, and I of­ten feel like the odd per­son out in the mother groups, who seem to know each other and can chat eas­ily with each other while I hide be­hind my Kin­dle.

Any ad­vice for this wall­flower mother as she tries to nav­i­gate her so­cial-but­ter­fly daugh­ter’s ac­tiv­i­ties?

— In­tro­vert

Dear In­tro­vert: My ad­vice for any child-rear­ing-re­lated prob­lem that (1) is not dan­ger­ous, merely tax­ing/ an­noy­ing, and (2) will even­tu­ally go away, is to give your­self per­mis­sion to piece to­gether ways to get through it. So, yeah, Kin­dle.

But do step away from it some­times for lim­ited stretches. It’ll fa­cil­i­tate your daugh­ter’s deeper friend­ships — kids get in­vited many places through par­ents — and model for her the im­por­tance of get­ting out of our com­fort zones. Even if she doesn’t un­der­stand it now, it’s a seed for later.

Plus, you might make a few nice con­nec­tions in spite of your­self that you can turn into quiet cof­fee vis­its.

Dear Carolyn: Is it un­eth­i­cal or cruel of me to stop pay­ing for cig­a­rettes for a friend who has no job and no way to fund his own habit, know­ing he will have to go through with­drawal? I’ve of­fered to fund any

“stop smok­ing” ef­fort he wants to try (ni­co­tine re­place­ment, classes, med­i­ca­tions, etc.).

I just can’t af­ford to keep spend­ing $350/month on his smok­ing. — Fund­ing An

Ad­dic­tion

Dear Fund­ing: When you cut off his sup­ply as you sug­gest, you will be giv­ing him two choices: get smok­ing-ces­sa­tion treat­ment free of charge (to him), or go cold-turkey.

If he opts for cold turkey, then that’s his choice, not your cru­elty.

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