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.
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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 email@example.com.