Where does the good go

Is it too early for audience participation weekend?

“Not every opinion should have a voice…know what I mean?” I smiled and nodded. I had been uncharacteristically making chitchat with the receptionist at my doctor’s office while I waited for my test results. (I’m fine, thanks for thinking the question.) Anyway, she told me that she was leaving for Miami in two weeks to attend her sister’s wedding. She made a face at the word wedding. “You don’t like the guy?” She was quiet. “Don’t like your sister?” She laughed. And then she said the opinion voice thing. Which, though I usually phrase it “it’s none of my business,” is one of my personal mottos. But I was talking to this girl I went to high school with and in her trademark judgmental nonchalance, I got the sense that she thinks there are opinions that you should voice even though it’s none of your business. What sayeth the peanut gallery? Do you tell your friends that their spouse is an addict? Or tell your sister not to marry her fiancee? Is there a difference between friends and family?

21 Responses to “Is it too early for audience participation weekend?”

  1. Karol Says:

    Where’s my link?

  2. Dawn Summers Says:

    I went to high school with a lot of girls. Where’s my Scrabble blog link?

  3. Karol Says:

    Yes, but only I have the “trademark judgmental nonchalance”. It’s trademarked! Now link me!

  4. Anonymous Says:

    uh, Karol sucks?

  5. VinNay Says:

    You certainly tell your friend that their spouse is an addict.

    I would tell my sister not to marry a guy I didn’t approve of, but I am an older brother, and it is my job to be protective.

    I would not tell a friend not to marry someone, unless I had a REALLY good reason too, but if they went ahead anyway, you have to support them.

    I would tell a friend that the NFL team they support sucks, are cheaters, and their injured QB is a total douchbag. If they decided to continue supporting such a team, and pursuing an unhealthy relationship with said QB, all while bashing a good, honest, honorable team like say, the Buffalo Bills, I would have to make their FFF Questions really hard, to ensure failure.

    Then I would beat them in Scrabble, just to rub it in.

  6. Dawn Summers Says:

    hahaahahaha. I say you beat me at Scrabble first, just to set the mood for my real footall fan loss. And then, to really teach me a lesson we should wager the cost of the roundtrip ticket to Vegas on it. Heck, I would even make it best of two out of three to make sure I don’t just get lucky.

  7. Pearatty Says:

    These are hard questions. If it’s an issue of emotional or physical safety, I definitely think you should talk to your friend/family member, assuming you have enough facts to reasonably believe you understand what’s going on.

    At that point, I think it’s important not to voice conclusions like “Joe’s a total addict,” but give facts like, “I saw Joe shooting up at the flop house last week.” Or, not say, “I think Jane is an abusive bitch” but say, “You don’t seem like the happy guy I used to know; and when Jane called you an assh**le and slapped you in front of all your friends, that disturbed me.”

    When it’s not an issue of safety is the harder question. I think the moral choice, for me, is that you should tell when the issue is going to seriously affect your relationship with that person. So if your sister is going to marry a person who is good to her, but just annoying as hell, it’s reasonable to say “honestly, I’m happy for you, but John’s just not my cup of tea — I’ll always want to hang out with you on your own, but I don’t see many double dates in our future if you guys get married.” Same for close friends. You may lose the friendship, but if you’re going to drift away anyway because you can’t stand the significant other, you may as well do it on honest grounds. It also leaves more room for picking up the friendship again if they break up.

    “Or tell your sister not to marry her fiancee?”
    Again, it really depends on the reason. If the fiancee is a bad person: i.e., lies, cheats, has an addiction problem, rude to waiters, mean to or inappropriately controlling of my sister, we definitely have to have a talk about it. Even then, I would be loath to say: “Don’t marry him.” But I would point out the issues I see, and ask that she think about them.

    “Is there a difference between friends and family?”
    I would say there’s a difference not between DNA, but in social closeness. Do I tell the guy in the next cubicle at work that I think his wife is an alcoholic, or cheating on him? No. Do I tell my best friend of 10 years? Definitely. Do I tell my cousin whom I haven’t seen in 5 years? Probably not. Etc., etc.

  8. Karol Says:

    Really? You can tell your friend not to marry someone? See, as nonchalantly judgmental though I may be, I couldn’t do that. I mean, what would it take for you to break up with your fiance based on a friend’s comments? I can’t even imagine. I would tell my sibling not to marry someone and I would tell my friend if I felt their spouse had a fixable problem, but I wouldn’t tell a friend not to marry someone.

  9. Pearatty Says:

    I don’t think most friends would not marry someone based on a friend’s opinion. But I do think that (1) you can give the friend a reality check which may or may not lead to the friend re-thinking a bad choice; and (2) you will have a stronger friendship, if you have one at all — if said kindly and non-judgmentally, as in my previous post, there’s a chance (just a chance) your friend will be willing or happy to organize the friendship so you don’t have to deal with the sig-o.

  10. Smokey Says:

    Wow. Pearatty likes to give advice! She must be an awesome big sister. 😉

  11. Smokey Says:

    Awaiting moderation?! What!? Grrr.

  12. Dawn Summers Says:

    Hey, hey…she is “an” awesome big sister.

  13. Karol Says:

    Um, where did my comment go?

  14. Pearatty Says:


    And don’t marry him, Smokey. You don’t know him well enough yet. 😉

  15. Smokey Says:

    I wouldn’t know *what* you are talking about!

    Yes, there are many big sisters out there. But, not many of them are as awesome as those that I have! Yeah for the Smokey clan!

  16. Pearatty Says:

    Hooray for the Clan of the Cave Smokey!

  17. Jordan Says:

    It’s a delicate question, which I think breaks down to how you define a friend. Is a friend someone who makes things easy for you or is a friend someone who makes things better for you.

    Most people would assume the latter, i.e., that a friend should look out for your best interests. In that case, opinions like the ones you mentioned should be voiced, if the intention is to confront the friend with a problem he/she might not see or want to recognize.

    However, a lot of people really just want friends who make things easy on them. In that case, you don’t mention that your hubby is nodding off with a needle in his arm.

    Me, I’m for telling a friend about the problems on paper; but in reality, most people just want to be left alone, not challenged, so I’d be inclined to keep my mouth shut.

  18. Karol Says:


  19. Anh Says:

    There is nothing in the Constitution about one person one vote. Hell it don’t even say anything about pseudo “popular” presidential election. The state decide how Electors are elected or appointed, or draw at random. Popular election defeats the who design of the Constitution through the Electoral system, which is to buffer the presidency from demagoguery. And what do we have now, two presidential candidates falling all over themselves trying to devise ways to stole money from one group of citizenry to buy vote from another.

  20. Pearatty Says:

    “No State shall . . . deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

    U.S. Constitution, Amendment XIV, section 1.

    Generally held to mean “one person, one vote.”

  21. Pearatty Says:

    Also, the electoral system is set out in the Constitution — Article II, section 1.

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