Saturday, March 14, 2009

Letter to "Dear Amy"

I actually sent this letter into the paper today. I was dissatisfied with Amy’s response to the second letter of Friday’s column in the Chicago Tribune .

Dear Amy,
I have two thoughts regarding the woman who fought with her mother-in-law re: a “smash cake” for her son's first birthday party. First, “letting the whole thing go” misses a very important chance to forge a stronger, more emotionally intimate relationship. While there is no guarantee that a sincere talk will go well; not talking is usually worse.

Second, our feelings exist to give us helpful info. The writer shares that she is “not sure how (her m-i-l) will react” in future situations. This is a legitimate reaction that should not be brushed aside.

While conversations involving strong feelings are scary and difficult, the rewards are great. Not talking about previous hurts only sets the stage for further hurt. It is best to discuss conflicts early. As time passes, it will only be more difficult to bring up past issues. One of the most important gifts we can offer each other is to practice good communication skills (“active listening” and using “I statements” are key tools) so we can truly know each other. As we reveal our quirks and vulnerabilities, we can learn to truly love each other.

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