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Baggage Check: Trouble with the swing set

By Andrea BoniorBy Andrea Bonior
Andrea Bonior
Andrea Bonior (that's BONN-yer!) is a licensed clinical psychologist, professor, and writer. She completed her M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology focusing on individual and group psychotherapy for young adults and specializing in the treatment of anxiety disorders and depression.

Q: My fiance and I are friends with a couple. Lately, they’ve been hinting that they want to get intimate with us. Yes, in that way. At first I thought they were kidding, but they have persisted, and it doesn’t seem like a joke anymore. My fiance says to ignore them, but I want to make it clear we are not interested because it is weirding me out.

If they bring it up again, you have to straddle that line between being so harsh that the friendship will be in jeopardy and being so pleasantly polite that they think you’re simply acting coy and are about to recommend everyone putting on a nightie.

My suggestion? As the topic is hanging in the air, give a friendly but blank stare with slightly raised eyebrows and say, “I notice you keep bringing this up. If you’re not joking about it, I do need you to know that we’re truly not interested,” and then make a pleasant change of subject.

If either of you are particularly close to one of the pair, you can also save it for a private conversation where you reveal the additional piece that it’s making you uncomfortable.

Q: We recently redid our kitchen, spending more than expected with a contractor whose work was not perfect. Overall, I’m happy. But my husband keeps bringing up all of the imperfections and constantly blames me passive-aggressively. He wants to hold off on doing anything else with the house indefinitely even though we have the money. How can I get him to see that nothing is perfect and people always spend more than intended and it’s not my fault?

Any kitchen renovation that doesn’t end with a visit to “The People’s Court” or a garbage disposal that leads to your bathroom shower should be considered a raging success. But are there significant imperfections that the contractors can (and should) still fix? Or is this a larger personality issue where he tends to second-guess and ruminate?

Tell him how you feel, but propose a compromise: You’ll stop pushing for more work to be done right away (Seriously? After a full kitchen renovation?) if he will try to be less critical.

It’s not about the angle of the cabinet door; it’s about being respectful to each other.

Andrea Bonior is a clinical psychologist and the author of “The Friendship Fix.”
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