DEAR ABBY: I am by nature a pretty friendly, jovial kind of person. I take people as I find them and try not to pass judgment on anyone until I get to know them at least a little.
Lately, more and more often, people, even ones I’ve known for years, have begun saying critical and, frankly, rude things to me. I don’t think I have said anything to them that could be construed as offensive. I do know I’m somewhat outspoken and can be a little opinionated, though.
Could my easygoing jocularity somehow make people think it’s OK to be rude to me? I have ended several friendships for this reason. I don’t want to stifle myself.
I want to continue being friendly and outgoing, but I’m not sure how to do that without being further insulted. Have people become so shallow that they only respect others who are reserved or even hostile? That’s a sad world to contemplate.
— GOOD GUY IN HAWAII
DEAR GOOD GUY: The next time this happens, ask the person why they reacted the way they did and whether you offended them in some way. If their opinion is different from yours, you should listen.
In recent years, civility has taken a beating and people have become polarized and less tolerant of opinions that differ from their own. I think we learn by listening to others, and if we lose that ability, our society will have lost something very important.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been married 10 years. When we tried to have kids for the first time, we discovered I have polycystic ovary syndrome. We quit trying when the doctor visits became more than we could afford.
We tried again after my husband saw a movie that moved him emotionally. Nothing came from that, so we stopped trying again.
I always assumed we’d give it a go one last time, but now my husband says he doesn’t want a kid right now and may never want one. He did say that if we wound up pregnant, he’d be fine with it. He also said he’d be terrified at first, but he’d settle into emergency mode and handle it.
Abby, I don’t know what to do. I most likely won’t get pregnant without a fertility specialist, but my husband made it clear he’s not into trying to have a baby. He’d only be fine with a baby if it “just happened.” What do I do?
— EMPTY ARMS IN TEXAS
DEAR EMPTY ARMS: Your husband doesn’t sound like a man who is yearning for fatherhood. Quite the opposite.
The likelihood of your “just happening” to become pregnant is nil without medical intervention. There is no compromise here.
If the two of you are going to be able to stay together, you should be talking about this with a licensed counselor so you can discuss whether options other than you conceiving a baby are acceptable.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.