Ms. Guidance: How to do Christmas on a budget
My friend has a band that I absolutely hate. They recently played a show that he invited me to; I did not want to go, but more importantly I couldn't go. Anyway, my friend has been nagging me and complaining that I am not supportive because I didn't go to his stupid band's show. So now I have to keep lying over and over again telling him that I like his band, I just couldn't go because I had a lot of work to do. As a friend, do I have an obligation to be supportive of a friend's rather crappy musical exploits?
~Bad Band Blood
As I see it, there is no real obligation between friends aside from friendship itself, though friends retain the right to dissolve even that. Rather, support and companionship between friends is something which is done by choice. Having said this, I think you should probably suck it up and go to your friend's next show, even if the music is less than stellar. Bring your iPod if it's that bad. All of us, at some point have to do things we don't want to for the sake of keeping the peace in those relationships which we value. Judging by your friends need for constant assurance that you like his band, he is very anxious for your opinion on what he is doing, as well as your support. This is where things get tricky. One option would be to simply say that you don't like the genre of music, thereby skirting the real issue. A more painful, but ultimately honest option would be to just come right out and tell your friend that his music sucks. Despite the potential this has to make your friend immediately disillusioned and hurt, in the long run, it will serve to make the bond between you stronger. Bad music is bad music whether a loved one is making it or not. Implementing the popular religious conservative view point of “hating the sin, not the sinner,” and attending his shows to cheer him on will serve to help heal the wounds of your brutal honesty.
Dear Ms. Guidance,
I cannot afford to get my family Christmas presents but I am worried that if I don't they will think that I am being selfish. Do you have any suggestions on what to get them?
~Christmas Cash Crunched
I am sure that your family will understand that you cannot budget for lavish gifts on your student wages. However, lack of extravagance does not equal lack of sentiment. Something as simple as a card or homemade ornament with a personalized holiday message will show you care without breaking the bank. Craft stores are an excellent resource for inexpensive, crafty Christmas gifts. You may also consider baking or cooking something in a large batch which can be easily distributed in economical jars or tins. If neither of these hands-on techniques are you, there is always pre-made Christmas cards sold by the dozens for around $6.00 dollars a box. One can also never forget the indispensable dollar store. Here in London there are several locations which carry loads of surprisingly high quality products for $1 dollar or less. We must all be careful to not lose sight of the fact that gifts are about giving, not retail value. It is becoming increasingly easier to disregard the love and caring intrinsic in generosity and the holiday season. Your family will be thankful for your presence, not just your presents, so you shouldn't stress too much about a meagre Christmas budget.
Dear Ms. Guidance,
I am pretty sure that this guy I just met this year, who I will call Justin, is gay. We spend lots of time together and I want him to know that it is okay that he is gay, but I don't want to just come out and ask him and be pushy about it. What should I do?
If you come right out and say, “Justin, I think you are gay, but I am okay with that,” it would seem that you are concluding that there is actually something wrong with homosexuality but you can overlook it. The best thing to do is be this dude's friend, continue the relationship as it has been and if he is gay and wants you to know he will tell. Otherwise, if doesn't matter, then why does it matter?
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