Ask Amy: Urban pioneer worried about nosy neighborhood
Dear Amy: About a year ago, my husband, baby and I moved to a new neighborhood.
The neighborhood is “turning over.” It was once a somewhat dangerous area, but in the past 10 years or so it has improved significantly, partly because of an influx of young professionals.
When we moved here, we made friends with our neighbors, including folks who were new to the area and those who had been there more than 40 years.
Recently, I walked around the corner to a restaurant. My husband and baby were not with me. As I was waiting, a man — older and larger than I — left his party (two women) and approached me to make small talk. He asked if I lived in the neighborhood. I told him I did.
The man then asked what street I lived on, and asked me to describe my house. I told him that I wasn’t comfortable sharing that information. He then read me the riot act, explaining that, “This isn’t that kind of neighborhood” and, “It’s not like I’m going to rob you.”
Frankly, I wasn’t worried about being robbed (or worse) before that comment, but I was worried afterward.
I didn’t want to engage, so I simply said, “Yeah, okay.”
Amy, I’m sure this man is perfectly pleasant to those who know him. But I’m a young woman, and no one should (1) ask a stranger where she lives, and then (2) respond so aggressively when she politely declines to answer.
Is there a better way to handle this in the future? I don’t think I was being a baby, but I wish more men understood that questions like this are inherently intimidating to women.
Wondering Woman: Your instinct is not to disclose your address to a stranger, for common-sense security reasons. But I’d like to suggest an alternate story line: He engages you in small talk and asks which house is yours. You deflect: “It sounds like you know the neighborhood pretty well. Do you live here, too?”
Or you answer truthfully: “It’s the yellow one with the white trim,” and he says, “Oh, the Robinsons used to live there. They raised five kids in that house.” You say, “Oh, we love that wonderful kitchen. How long have you lived in the neighborhood?”
And you’ve both formed a connection.
You bear no blame for reacting the way you did (my scenario might be wrong). He should not have reacted so defensively — and offensively. But you assumed the worst and swatted away his bid for connection — and he responded badly.
In the future, you can respond to entrees by deflecting with politeness.
When a stranger asks you any question you don’t necessarily want to answer, you can say, “Hi, I’m ‘Sandy.’ I didn’t get your name…?” This is a way of rewiring the encounter. The person’s response to this polite deflection will reveal what you might want to do next.
Dear Amy: My husband of 41 years died. I do not plan to remarry.
Now I’m wondering, do I continue to wear my wedding band?
Someone told me that you wear it on your right hand if you’re widowed.
Should I do that, or should I take off my ring, since he has passed away?
Widowed: You should do whatever you want to do. After 41 years of marriage, you might feel lost without your ring on your left hand, where it has always been.
There are no rules about this. Some widowed people take their ring off immediately. Some switch their wedding band to the right hand.
Give yourself time to make the decision that feels right to you. You can also make one choice and then change your mind.
Don’t let anyone tell you how to manage your loss.
Dear Amy: Thank you for your sensitive response to “Hello Teaching, Goodbye Teaching,” from the new teacher who wanted to quit on her first day.
I was a high school teacher for more than 30 years and absolutely loved my job, but I always said if I had to repeat my first year of teaching I would find another line of work.
I definitely agree with giving yourself permission to quit but also give yourself enough time to find out if teaching is really for you. If I had quit after the first year, I would have missed out on an extremely rewarding career.
Been There (panic attacks and all)!
Been There: Many veteran teachers responded with similar stories.
artikel by :washingtonpost.com