Thanks to the draft, I served as a fight medic in Vietnam once I was 19. Though I used to be in lots of precarious conditions (I used to be shot at and stepped on a land mine that didn’t explode), I got here dwelling secure. When I did, my father informed me he’d taken a life insurance coverage coverage on me for $50,000. He was the beneficiary. He requested if I wished to take over the premiums. I declined. I used to be so surprised that he was keen to revenue from my demise that I by no means stated a phrase about this to anybody. My dad and mom are lengthy lifeless. I want to talk about this with my siblings, however I don’t wish to trigger a rift. Your ideas?
I’m sorry you’ve carried this weight alone for near 50 years. My recommendation is to interrupt your silence and begin speaking about this episode as a lot as you possibly can bear: with siblings, a counselor or anybody who loves you — notably individuals who knew your father and will have a perspective to supply on his conduct.
It was you, after all, who confronted the mortal hazard (and terror) of transport off to Vietnam as little greater than a boy. But your loved ones suffered, too, on the prospect of shedding a son and brother. And if I do know one factor about struggling, it’s that it may possibly make us do unusual issues.
Now, I don’t find out about your relationship along with your father, however I’m going to imagine he wasn’t in any other case a monster. I additionally think about that the navy would have paid to your funeral and that you simply didn’t have mountains of money owed or a household to assist. With that in thoughts, I completely see how this life insurance coverage appears to be like like a coldhearted lottery ticket to you.
But I also can see how the terrifying prospect of shedding a teenage son may transfer a guardian to place all the things he may so as, together with insuring that boy’s life. This will not be wholly rational or erase the sting for you. But it does argue for chatting with your siblings and expressing your emotions. If they will’t assist you, discover a counselor. It’s time to start out sharing your burden, Ben.
Why Are You So Loud?
I’ve been a shy particular person my whole life. And although I’m comfy as an introvert, mates and acquaintances will usually say issues like: “You don’t talk much” or “Why are you so quiet?” Mostly, I simply shrug off these feedback. But I feel they perpetuate a damaging perspective about introverts. How can I shut these folks down with out sounding too bitter?
Quiet folks could make conversations awkward for talkative varieties — and vice versa. In my expertise, although, introverts are sometimes higher listeners, extra observant and extra self-directed than the Chatty Cathys of the world. Still, others can misread their silence as judgment or stress to speak much more. (Ugh!)
You don’t have anything to apologize for. But watch out about being too defensive. If your mates misread your silence, isn’t it higher to assist them perceive it than shut them down? Say: “You’re right. I talk less than many people. I’m an introvert. It’s nothing personal. And when I have something to say, I do.”
Not the Least Bit Curious
I’ve two brothers who speak incessantly about their lives, however they by no means ask me something about mine. We talk principally by cellphone and group textual content. Increasingly, I’ve realized that if I don’t insert a remark about my life now and again, they wouldn’t know a lot about me in any respect. I’m shedding endurance. Help!
Your story jogs my memory of that ugly office phenomenon: when a lady makes a degree to deafening silence in a gathering, solely to have her male colleague applauded for a similar one 10 minutes later. Your brothers appear disinclined to take you under consideration.
Point this out gently: “I’ve noticed an imbalance in our conversations. You two do most of the talking. I’m interested in your stories; I love you. But be sure to ask about mine too. It shows that you care.” It might take a number of reminders, and it might not work in any respect — by which case, make investments your power in additional satisfying relationships.
That’s Not What “Complimentary” Means
My boyfriend and I went to dinner at a brand new restaurant. We struck up a dialog with the supervisor, who kindly despatched us a complimentary appetizer. We continued chatting with him, and he despatched us a free dessert. When we received the verify, we observed that we’d been charged for the appetizer, however not the dessert. Not wanting to look ungrateful (however honestly, somewhat irritated at being charged for one thing we didn’t order), we paid and left a beneficiant tip. Should we’ve stated one thing?
How precisely is it “ungrateful” to level out properly that you simply’ve been charged for a present? This dynamic runs rampant in my mailbox: People are so afraid of seeming low cost (or drawing consideration to cash in business transactions) that they overpay and resent it, quite than level out easy errors. Next time, communicate proper up.
For assist along with your awkward state of affairs, ship a query to SocialQ@nytimes.com, to Philip Galanes on Facebook or @SocialQPhilip on Twitter.