Today’s column

… is online here. I felt sorry for the girl in the first question. My best friend in my senior year was this brilliant dude, who I’m still crazy tight with 25 years later. I talked to the ConductMom before I wrote that answer to see if she thought the parents were right to interfere like that, and she said that indeed, they weren’t, and that in her opinion, all they were doing was risking driving their daughter away, not protecting her from anything at all.

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6 Responses to Today’s column

  1. Shulamuth says:

    I so agree with that. I can see setting some set of rules to avoid situations where things could get out of hand (even if they are not likely to) or subject to misinterpretations by other (which are more likely) but she’s already following the ones I would have set.

    However, you don’t address one issue I think can come up, the whole “my house/my rules” thing. Yes, she’s legally an adult, but if she’s dependent on her folks for support (and eventually college tuition) she may have to let them tell her what to do if she wants that to continue. Long term, it’s likely to estrange her, but they do have control now.

  2. veronica says:

    I concur with the whole “my house/my rules” theory that might be problematic. I know for certain if my mom still went to church every week, I’d be going whether or not I wanted to (and it’s been a decade or so since my confirmation).

    As to the second question in your column, I have a counterpoint. My birthday is the day after Christmas which means I get tons of gift cards in one fell swoop. And if I do get clothes its winter clothes. I tend to stash the gift cards away so I can get spring and summer clothes (especially professional clothes).

  3. Risha says:

    I’d say that it’s likely one of three scenarios:

    1. they know something about negative the boy that she doesn’t (which could be anything from disapproving of his religious beliefs up to getting arrested for robbery), and are for some reason (still seeing her as a child?) refusing to tell her,

    2. they’re extremely conservative (some of the details make me think this likely, such as never going to his house when his parents aren’t there, and calling a potential romantic/sexual relationship between two adults “inappropriate”),

    or 3. they don’t believe that a man can be friends with a woman without ulterior motives.

    I’m going to go out on a limb and make a completely unfounded guess that it’s all three.

  4. Robin says:

    Shulamuth, that’s a good point, and that’s also why I pointed out to the girl that even if she can’t see Brady until she’s out of the house, the relationship will survive. And Risha, I think it’s probably 2 & 3. I agree that some details seemed odd–I certainly hung out with Lance (and other male friends, too) “unchaperoned” as a teenager, and my parents were quite conservative Christians (and my teenage years were long ago, and in Kansas). I wonder if they might even be from another culture?

    Veronica, if you deliberately hold on to cards for a reason, that’s fine, I think. But I’ve wasted money giving people cards that they simply never got around to using. That’s frustrating, and rude on the part of the receiver. (The gift cards, I hasten to say, are always from stores that the receiver would like and that are conveniently located for him or her.) Also, these days? You dang well better use those cards before the business goes under!

  5. veronica says:


    If Ann Taylor, Old Navy, and Victoria’s Secret all go out of business I’m doomed and will be wearing nothing but newspapers taped together.

    Cash gifts get weird for me….right now I have a LOT of credit card debt. And quite honestly if I get 100 bucks in cash from someone, I’d rather use it to pay that. But my grandfather would cringe if I told him I used the cash gift for something responsible so I just end up lying and saying I went out with some friends.

  6. LizA says:

    It occurred to me that the two sets of parents had a falling out of some sort. Rather than discuss it with the daughter, they’ve forbidden contact.

    And did anyone else pick up on the daughter saying that she and her friend would never be an item? Is it possible that she knows something about her friend that the parents don’t and won’t ever know that would make her assertion knowable?

    The daughter sounds like a lovely person. I hope she finds a path through this and gets to keep her friend and the love of her family.

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