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DEAR CHRISTINE: Turned off by gossiping parents

marciadottin, [email protected]

DEAR CHRISTINE: Turned off by gossiping parents

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Dear Christine,
I don’t know how to make my parents understand that my husband and I are not interested in their gossip about how terrible all their children are.
I know if they are not in my presence they will probably say the same thing about me.
The truth is that because of their behaviour I do not want to spend time with them. They criticise everything I do and they never think my husband is good for anything, yet they complain we do not spend weekends with them.
How can we if they continue to gossip and criticise? How could we enjoy being around anyone who is so unpleasant?
– D.S.
Dear D.S.,
Very often, people who spend a lot of time gossiping and criticising are unhappy and bored. This does not help make it any easier or any more pleasant to live with them. However, it does give you some insight into the problem.
I gather that you have tried to communicate your feelings with your parents and have failed to get through to them.
I have a suggestion that may sound silly, but it might be worth a try.
Try to find two books, or even articles, to give them on subjects you feel might interest them. Tell them that when you see them again you want to know what they think about what they read.
This is not insulting; it’s paying them a compliment because you want to know their opinion. I guarantee you that this will limit the time they spend gossiping.
Gossip and idle conversation have a way of taking over when people feel there is simply nothing else to talk about.
You will be amazed at the number of people who suffer from the deadly ailment of boredom. Unless older people keep mentally active, it can be a special problem for them.
Give them something to stir up in their minds and they won’t have time to gossip.