The Dos And Don’ts Of Being Friends With Your Parents

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The Dos And Don'ts Of Being Friends With Your Parents

Over the past few years, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend with my relationship with my mom and dad. Gradually, our interactions have been in changing from “sagely guardian and disobedient child” to “equals who can confide in each other and share life’s experiences.” And I hate it. Even though my parents and I are both adults who are working our way through life as best we can, I’m still shocked every time I have a conversation that reveals them as normal, even occasionally flawed, people. My father has started talking to me about his breakup and subsequent love life and my mother asks me for advice on how to deal with aspects of her life. It’s weird. However, I love my parents, and I guess I am happy to know more about their lives, so here are some rules I wish I could give them to make this whole “being friends” more normal.

1. Don’t talk about sex.
I’m looking at you, Dad. I know, the dating game is new to you after a 14-year relationship, but I don’t need to hear specifically how you’ve been crushing it. For example, I didn’t want to hear that “being a single man with no baggage and some disposable income at my age is almost… too easy,” or, “Let’s just say I’m glad I upgraded my bed to a California King.” Those words have been rattling around my brain, giving me cold sweats and keeping me awake for nights now. I also don’t want to hear “I can see why you liked these dating apps,” “personal grooming has changed,” and definitely not anything starting with the phrase, “when your mother was younger…” To be honest, the only sentence I really want to hear about your dating life is, “I found another woman who’s down to move to Mexico with me, so I’m no longer selling the beach house that you never even got a chance to visit.”

2. Don’t ask for my advice and then tell me how I’m wrong.
Mom, if you come at me and ask me if I think my brother is partying too much in college, you better be ready for my honest opinion. I’m sorry that “I mean, he’s only drinking like four nights a week, the pussy, so if anything he needs to let loose a little more” wasn’t the answer you were looking for, but I gave you my real thoughts. And to answer all your other questions in advance: yes, my youngest brother is going to get hazed during pledging, but he’ll come out the other side a better man; no, I don’t think you should surprise my middle brother at his college for Parent’s Weekend, and honestly, I’m not the person to ask about whether either of them is practicing safe sex. If you’re going to jump down my throat about how wrong my advice/opinion is, don’t ask for it in the first place.

3. Do keep the drinks flowing.
Don’t get me wrong; it’s still super weird for me to actively drink with you guys. The fact that the same people that grounded me for eight months in high school for drinking (at school and getting suspended) now encourage me to get wine drunk with them is a trip, but I’m about it. Your new “cool parent” personas are still taking me some time to get used to, but nothing eases the transition like a casual buzz. After all, the looser the lips, the better the conversation. I didn’t know I wanted to hear all about your trip hitchhiking through the U.S. in ’86 until we opened up the second bottle of wine, but now I’m fascinated by your lives. Keep pouring, and keep talking.

4. Don’t lecture me about my drinking while we’re drinking.
Dammit, Mom and Dad, you’re really harshing my mellow here. I know you think I drink too much. It’s brought up every time you see me struggling through a hangover, which is 90 percent of the time due to my desire to go hard with my friends whenever I visit home. I acknowledge your opinion, and I know that as my parents, lecturing me about stupid stuff is your right. However, when we’re both buzzed and you’re the one pouring me drinks, you lose all ability to broach this subject. Also, speaking of “not doing things to excess,” maybe you should take a look at how many fucking ceramic knick-knacks we have in this house. There’s a table in the living room that is solely dedicated to them, for god’s sake. What purpose do they serve? Why are so many of them of cats? This is what addiction really looks like! Now pour me another drink so we can talk about your problem.

5. Do tell me about all the new family gossip.
You may think that as a 25-year-old male, gabbing with my mom about all the hot gossip going on in our family isn’t my cup of tea, but you’d be dead wrong. I fucking live for that shit. Which cousin got caught looking at weird porn? What’s the word on the street on my little brother’s “serious” three-month relationship? Where was my uncle actually when he claimed to be on a work trip for three weeks? I gotta know, and I gotta know now. I know that all this info comes at a price, but if giving my mom some juicy details about my own relationship and life is what I’ve got to do to judge everyone else, then so be it.

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