Dear Annie: I'll try to keep this nonpartisan and just give you the bare essentials. My sister and I are both in our late 50s. She's only two years younger than I am, and we grew up extremely close. We went to college together and made sure never to move too far away from each other or our parents afterward.
But she is a member of one major political party, and I'm a member of the other one. The presidential election caused a big strain on our relationship. I thought things would get better after Election Day, but they've actually gotten even worse. She's unwilling to compromise and see my point of view, and to be honest, I can't see her point of view, either.
Before the campaign season started (a year and a half ago), we talked on the phone at least three times a week. Now we haven't talked in two weeks, and I'm worried the distance between us will just continue to grow. I keep thinking I should swallow my pride and tell her she's right on a few points (even though I don't believe it) just to smooth things over. But I can't bring myself to do it. Will we ever be as close as we were? — Family Divided
Dear Family: This election year has done a number on many families. Based on what I've heard from other readers, the disagreement you and your sister are having is happening at tables all across the nation.
It's entirely possible — healthy, even — to love someone who has different opinions. You eliminate a lot of frustration once you realize that yelling never changed anybody's mind. Embrace the relief that comes with agreeing to disagree.
That said, I'm sure that if you two made a list of all the things you have in common, it would be much longer than the list of all the things you don't. You're just obsessing over the latter. Remember: You were sisters long before you even knew what a Democrat or Republican is. Give her a call today, and talk about your children, your health, a good book you're reading — anything but politics.
Dear Annie: This is in response to "Between a Rock and a Hard Place in Ohio," whose 13-year-old daughter was invited to a birthday party at the mall. A four-hour unchaperoned mall birthday party for 13-year-olds? The invited girl's mother's concern was legitimate.
I would like to point out that many malls (at least in my area) do not allow anyone younger than 18 to wander freely in the mall without parental supervision, for good reason. A more organized party should have been planned by the birthday girl's mother, perhaps with a meal at a designated mall restaurant and an hour of shopping and/or a movie afterward. That would have been more responsible. What was the mother thinking?
And as far as supervision goes, I once walked into a tea shop and watched two girls of about that same age helping themselves to endless cups of tea while other shoppers were on standby for a sample to be provided by the hostess. The supervising adult was present but outside the store on her smartphone and oblivious to what was going on — and she most likely didn't care. Parents, please wake up! — A Daily Reader
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