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Today's column

Posted by Robin Abrahams  December 8, 2013 09:32 AM

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Today's question is from a young woman who can't quite get up the nerve to ask her boyfriend what, if anything, she should give his family for Christmas. Young people, especially young women, who fear "awkward" conversations make Miss Conduct's heart hurt:

You've been dating this guy for over a year and you can't say: "Do you think I should get your mom something this year? Or should we go in on it together?" How do you discuss birth control, for heaven's sake? What if you had an illness with some disgusting symptoms? How would you split up the chores if you lived together? Financial responsibilities? Romantic relationships are all about awkward conversations.
Do you know what happens in couples in which one person "feels weird" about discussing expectations, responsibilities, and family management with the other? The person who "feels weird" winds up doing everything him- or herself, because "If I don't do it, who will," but God forbid you actually say anything.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
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About Miss Conduct
Welcome to Miss Conduct’s blog, a place where the popular Boston Globe Magazine columnist Robin Abrahams and her readers share etiquette tips, unravel social conundrums, and gossip about social behavior in pop culture and the news. Have a question of your own? Ask Robin using this form or by emailing her at missconduct@globe.com.
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Who is Miss Conduct?

Robin Abrahamswrites the weekly "Miss Conduct" column for The Boston Globe Magazine and is the author of Miss Conduct's Mind over Manners. Robin has a PhD in psychology from Boston University and also works as a research associate at Harvard Business School. Her column is informed by her experience as a theater publicist, organizational-change communications manager, editor, stand-up comedian, and professor of psychology and English. She lives in Cambridge with her husband Marc Abrahams, the founder of the Ig Nobel Prizes, and their socially challenged but charismatic dog, Milo.

Need Advice?

Curious if you should say "bless you" to a sneezing atheist? How to host a dinner party for carbophobes, vegans, and Atkins disciples—all at the same time? The finer points of regifting? Ask it here, or email missconduct@globe.com.

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