Jim and Mike are proud guncles of nephews, nieces, younger cousins and furry cats and they’re here to answer your life questions each month, big and small.
Small Cocktail Talk
Q: Dear Guncles,
I was recently at an Outfest screening with cocktail reception afterwards. Although, I’m excited to get out of the house and attend LGBTQ movie screenings again (some great movies out there), I forgot how much anxiety I get when stuck in small talk situations. This one older film buff cornered me at the reception and just wouldn’t stop talking. I didn’t know how to get out of it. I sat there just nodding. I ended up in 45 minutes of pure hell before hitting a breaking point and abruptly pretending I had to meet a friend for dinner and bolting from the entire reception. — Gotta Run
A: Dear Gotta Run,
Performing smalltalk is a stress factor for many grown adults. Then there’s getting out of awkward conversations. A few things to unpack here. But since it seems getting away from a boring talker is your main issue, we’ll address that. Unlike a boxer or cat put into a corner, you don’t have to go out punching and scratching. Dear Guncles typically just finish our drinks and politely say we need a refill or have to head to the bathroom. This is why it’s always important to have a drink in your hand. The person rarely will ever follow you, unless you hit it off and you want them to.
To Card or Not To Card
Q: Dear Guncles,
Is giving a gift card as a birthday present lazy? My girlfriend wants to give a friend of ours a card because it’s easy to put in an envelope when at the party. I just find it impersonal. — Gimme A Big Present
A: Dear Gimme A Big Present,
We love receiving perfectly selected personal presents too! The hard part is when, as oftentimes is the case, the gift is not needed or liked. We’ve gotten some weird gifts in the past like a coffee scented foot lotion (No – we didn’t do a lick test to see if it offered a caffeine kick.)
At the end of the day, it all depends on the person you’re giving the gift card. If they like gift cards, prefer to select their own presents, or live afar and you need to mail it, then a card may work. You can also make it more personal by selecting a gift card from a store you know they like. Can be classy getting a card from Nordstrom’s, Dean & DeLuca or even a local favorite restaurant.
It’s better to give a gift card than unwanted objects like bedazzled candlesticks (yes, another present we received).
Furbaby As Parenting Starter Kit
Q: Dear Guncles,
My coworker said she and her wife wanted to have kids. I said she should get a dog first. She got offended. But it was meant to prepare her for all the work ahead especially since she can barely organize her desk and keep her office plants alive.
Should I not have said anything? — Stepped In It
A: Dear Stepped In It,
Maybe she’s allergic to pets. But seriously, we agree with you in that pets can be good training wheels for parents-to-be in learning how to take care of (and clean up after) another living thing that requires your entire attention to stay alive.
Yet, deciding to become a parent is a very personal and private decision. It’s hard to tell if someone will be a good parent or not based upon how they are at work, with fur babies, or even with a Philodendron in low light.
Wish your colleague much success in starting that process of becoming a parent. If you feel you want to be there to help once she is a parent, then offer that. Just don’t give her a golden lab at the baby shower.