Welcome to our latest Bad Advice column! Stay tuned every Tuesday for more terrible guidance based on actual letters.
Four months ago I met a great man. We get on famously — we both agree that it is at a very deep, soul-mate level, but he has a long-time girlfriend he lives with, who is the mother of his two kids. We both know the attraction is there, and he has been unhappy for five years now, but I have made it clear to him that I will not do anything that friends would not do unless he finds himself single. I am growing attached to him, though, and he has started making plans for us to do things together — including meeting his kids next week. I’m reluctant, because I know that if I were his partner I would be horrified. But as friends, isn’t meeting the family normal?
— Ask Molly Ringwald, The Guardian, April 24, 2015
You are definitely not standing on the precipice of entering into a bad ideas relationship with a man who is a bajillion percent gonna do some sex on you at the first opportunity! For sure you guys are just gonna stay super platonic boring friends forever and not do a bone literally any minute now. There is zero chance that all of this is gonna be a nightmare hellscape trash Dumpster shitfire on hot wheels in about six months. Have fun meeting the children who will in no way be negatively impacted by their dad’s dipshit shenanigans with you, a person with very strong boundaries.
Son won’t have children: We are concerned our only son isn’t having children. Every time we bring it up with him, he seems to have a new excuse. Recently when we tried to discuss this with our daughter-in-law directly, she said her high-powered career would be severely impacted if she didn’t plan child-bearing carefully because she doesn’t get paid parental leave at her workplace. We tried to encourage her by saying that she doesn’t even need to work since our son is very successful and we have considerable means. This seems to have offended her greatly. How do we convince them that we only want them to be happy?
— From Dear Prudence, Slate, 17 January 2018
Dear Son Won’t Have Children,
It is always heartbreaking to find out that your children are not living their lives to the exact specifications you provided in detail when they were conceived all those years ago. Unfortunately, the return policy on uncooperative children who fail to fulfill your every expectation as if they have grown up to have a mind and body of their own, wholly separate from yours, is extremely limited. Whereas the vast majority of children do everything their parents want them to do all the time and forever, you appear to have received an ineffective and combative model of fully grown, sentient human being who believes its personal reproductive decisions to be within its sole purview.
What’s worse, your disobedient offspring has paired with another errant n’er-do-well who rudely refuses to a bear the grandchild she owes you, for reasons that are most spurious indeed. What woman, when presented with the chance to abandon a career she loves, bear a child against her will, and become financially beholden to people who view her as a womb on high-powered high-heels, would not jump at the opportunity? What fool would not want to be valued solely for her ability to produce wee cooing-and-shitting babbies, as the Lord and In-Laws intended?
A true and good child at any age is never separate from its creators, which means a true and good child can never be happy unless its parents are happy. And since you are not happy without a grandchild, it goes without saying that your son cannot be happy without a child, and how could you possibly be at fault for simply wanting your son to be happy?
The sole recipe for happiness on earth between a couple of heterosexual folks is to produce a human child. Quid pro ergo, your son must have a child to be happy. Take every opportunity to tell this unruly pair how concerned you are for their happiness, which they do not currently have because you do not also have it. You will of course have to ask them constantly about their sex life and their reproductive cycles due to the sad fact that your son is not literally still connected to your body, but any small embarrassment this causes will be over more quickly than you think.
I would appreciate your read on this. I recently received over 1,000 views on a LinkedIn post I made. Yet no one at the company I work at has given any feedback. No post comments, likes, etc. My company employs less than 100 people and I’m connected with many of them on LinkedIn and can see the post has been viewed by some. People outside of my company have offered likes and comments. This experience is making me question if I’m a valued and respected employee.
— From Ask A Manager, 27 October 2017
Dear Unvalued, Disrespected Employee,
First off, congratulations on reaching 1,000 views on a LinkedIn post, an almost unfathomable achievement that your ungrateful employer and jealous coworkers don’t appreciate because they think you are worthless and bad.
Almost nobody can get 1,000 views on a LinkedIn post, so it’s super weird that they didn’t throw you a party and give you a promotion. You’re telling me you work with 99 other people and it was not a priority for one of them to tell you how incredible your recent LinkedIn post was? Because it got 1,000 views? A thing that everyone clearly knows and is completely ignoring? Ninety-damn-nine people work in your office and there you are, shining like the most beacony beacon that ever did beaconing, and nobody stopped by with a cake — not even cupcakes? For a LinkedIn post that got one-thousand views?????
Not even, like, some embossed monogrammed stationery or designer chocolate or anything?? What are you, chopped liver?? Maybe! But you are some chopped liver that got an incredible 1,000 views on a LinkedIn post, which is just about the most impressive feat ever achieved by a human person. Probably your boss is going around liking and commenting on everybody else’s LinkedIn posts! Praising your LinkedIn posts is the sole measure of whether your company values and respects you, so your gut instincts are 1,000 percent correct here. Hey, 1,000! That’s the same number of views your LinkedIn post got! Amazing.