“Nosy” Mom – What Should I Do When She Gets Too Involved in My Life

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A friend of mine is going through a very complicated relationship with her mom and her ex-boyfriend. She broke up with the guy a while ago. Ever since her mom learned about this, she has been asking my friend to get back together with him, because she thinks this guy is the best fit for my friend. “Why can’t she just stay out of it!” my friend would cry in frustration after her mom’s call.

This is a very common phenomenon among Chinese students. Almost all my friends, including myself, have experienced something like this. I think the reason is that Chinese parents are usually over-protective. Parents are so used to making important decisions for their children and taking care of them even though they are adults. When it comes to boy issues, moms are especially sensitive. My mom always says that “for women, marriage means rebirth, so you must be extra careful in finding a good husband.” This statement is true, but it is not an excuse for moms to get too involved in our private life. If you’ve got a nosy mom, too, my tips might help:

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#1 Tell Her About Your Relationship Only When it Gets Serious

This saves you from so much trouble! When you are still figuring out your relationship with a guy, it would be frustrating to answer questions from your mom like “When are you too getting married”, “What do his parents do”, “What does he plan to do for living” or the more embarrassing one like “Is his family going to buy you two a house when you get married?”

When moms ask these questions, they expect good answers from you – the guy is from a wealthy family, has a promising future and will probably pay for the house you are going to live in. If the guy is not what she expected to be, she will probably keep nagging until you change your mind. Don’t get me wrong and think that Chinese moms are very materialistic. Moms ask about the guy’s family background because they already assume that he is a good guy and love their daughters very much.

#2 If You Do Tell Her About the Guy, Keep it Vague and Don’t Share Too Much Detail

Telling your mom every detail of your relationship, from every fight you’ve had with the guy to every date that you’ve been on, is a signal that you want your mom to be involved.

Think about this, when you tell your BFF about your boyfriend, usually you are mad at him and want your BFF to be on your side. Moms will do that, too. But they will get very involved and will probably start to judge him too much. You certainly don’t want that. So if you tell your mom about him, keep her updated on how you are getting along, since she cares about you and would want to know. But try to keep it vague on the details.

#3 Yelling Never Works

Sometimes your nosy mom gets you so frustrated that you start yelling at her to stay out of it. First of all, yelling will not make your mom completely disappear from your life. Secondly, getting into a fight with your mom will probably turn this into a personal matter between the two of you. And it might lead to a whole different and frustrating debate on “you’re not the daughter that I know anymore” and “you’ve become so heartless after being with him”. So control your temper and have a heart-to-heart with your mom.

#4 Show Her, Not Tell, That You Are Responsible

My mom always says that no matter how old I get, she will always see me as her little baby. This means, she will ALWAYS worry about me. For her, there will be two turning points in my life that make her start to worry less – when I get a good job and become financially independent; and when I become a mom myself.

If you think about it, these two turning points mean one thing – responsibility. She will stop looking out for you when she is sure you’re going to be fine on yourself. She becomes nosy about your love life because she is afraid you might make mistakes that you’ll regret later.

So the best way to solve the problem is to show her, not tell, that you are mature enough to take responsibility for your life. Let her understand that you know what kind of partners you are looking for and you will not waste your time on guys who treat you badly. So when you end your relationship or whatever decision you are making, let it be a well-thought one. You are ready to take responsibility for any consequences that come after. Again, it’s all about letting your mom understand that you are an adult now. Moms have been taking care of us for so long, be patient and give her the time to gradually let go of you.

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Deciphering Girls’ Language 101

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For all my guy friends out there, let me ask you a question. Have you ever been confused by what your girlfriends say to you? Have you ever had the experience when you think you did ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong, but your girls suddenly got angry at you and gave you a silent treatment?

Girls, we know your pain. Sometimes you say something and expect the boys would grasp your intended/hidden/implied message. And they NEVER do. Do you sometimes even feel that boys are ignoring your feelings intentionally?

Don’t worry. We are here to your rescue. If you are a guy who has had these confusions before, please read on. If you are a girl who is trying to make your man understand you better, keep reading, too. You’ll thank us later.

If you are a GUY……

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What does she mean when she says “I am fine”?

She is absolutely NOT fine. Wake up!

Usually, when you ask her if anything is ok, you do it because you already noticed that your girl is not as cheerful as usual, right? Now she says she is ok, then what? If you think to yourself that, “oh yeah she is totally fine, nothing to worry about”, then you will probably piss her off and get a silent treatment.

In a girl’s logic, her boyfriend, who is supposed to love her so much, would naturally understand her feelings without her ever having to say anything.

You think simply asking her if she is ok would show that you care about her? Wrong.

You need to take a step further – keep talking to her to find out more. Ask questions to figure out what is troubling her. For example, “is your roommate waking you up at night again?” “How’s your boss? Still a jerk to you?” If you ask the right questions, she will probably start talking about what’s making her upset. And that means you are SAFE. Perhaps she will even love you more – because in her mind, what you just did is a sign of love and care.

When shopping with your girl……

Please be patient!!!

You know, girls don’t go out shopping because they actually need anything. Every girl has a closet full of clothes but nothing to wear. Girls simply enjoy trying on all cute outfits. Don’t be scared by the price tags – girls probably end up buying nothing after spending 8 hours in a mall – and they are happy with it.

Your girl will definitely put on something, let’s say a dress, and ask your opinion about it (Trust me, they ALWAYS do. Why do you think she asks you out on a shopping trip anyway?)

What you should do is – making something up. Instead of saying “it’s pretty”, say “I think the color really brings out your eyes”. Don’t say “it looks alright”, say “I think you look gorgeous in both two dresses, but personally I love the previous one”.

Girls don’t actually expect you to give professional advice on fashion (even if you do, they would probably sneer at your terrible taste anyway). So relax. They just want you to be there with them and say nice things about her from time to time. Do not just sit on the couch in front of the fitting room staring at your phone. If you throw just two words at her after she cheerfully comes out of the fitting room, YOU WILL BE IN TROUBLE.

If you are a GIRL…… 

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Talk to him in a not-so-typical-girl way…

One rule: don’t expect him to understand what you mean like your girlfriends do! So be direct! I always believe in one principle that girls and guys speak different languages. When you are upset, your BFF will immediately notice it but your boyfriend may not. So don’t make it even harder for these poor guys to struggle with deciphering what you say.

Making it hard for him means you are making your communication harder for both of you. This will eventually jeopardize your relationship. If you are upset or troubled by something, tell him directly, don’t make him guess. Work out a solution together instead of wasting his time guessing and wasting yours on being mad at him.

Try not to drag him to go shopping with you

Seriously, not many of my guy friends really enjoy shopping. Neither does my boyfriend. When a guy goes shopping, it’s usually because he REALLY needs to buy something, or he will go out naked the next day. That’s how urgent it is. They would go to the one mall they like, usually the closest one to his house, try something on, pay for it then go back home. Done.

Besides, they really cannot tell the difference between turquoise and green. So don’t torture them by forcing them to comment on the dresses you just put on. If you really need to go shopping, go with your girlfriends. They have better taste in girls’ fashion than your boyfriend. If you have to go shopping with your man, make sure to go to the men’s section and pick something nice for him to try on too. Don’t make the shopping trip JUST ABOUT YOU. So don’t leave him out completely.

Holiday Shopping! Friendship in Jeopardy Again?

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The semester is almost finished! Yay! This is a special period of time for Chinese students who are going home for their holiday. Most Chinese students must have had this experience when family and friends back in China ask you to buy things for them because things are cheaper here in the U.S. These things include beauty products, handbags and health supplements. Bringing gifts for family and friends is a good manner, which should be encouraged. But rushing to outlets stores on black Friday in order to get all the things on their shopping list is NOT a pleasant experience. As a result, many Chinese students usually panic around the holiday in fear of the expected shopping lists.

Before I flew back to China from New Zealand after finishing my exchange program, I had to throw away my suitcase and get a larger one so that I could carry all the things I bought for my family and friends. I also had to throw away some of my clothes and shoes because my suitcase was extremely overweight. Over the years I have gradually learned how to deal with unwanted shopping lists and friends that ask too much from me. Hopefully, my tips will come in handy when you are in the same situation, too.

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True friends put you first, not their shopping list

Think about this. When you feel upset and post a sad selfie on social media, people comment below and ask if you are ok. Are those really your closest friends? For me, best friends would not comment below my post, they would call me immediately to find out why I am upset.

This is also the case when it comes to holiday shopping. When your “friends” somehow learned that you are flying home for holiday, they text you right away with a long shopping list. These people, for most of the time, are not that close to you. To be honest, they are just some random names on your contact list.

How can you tell who are the good friends and who are not? This is simple. I was texting my best friends in China even before I booked my flight. And I offered to shop for them if they wanted anything. Often times, they would refuse or only ask for one small item. Even so, they might worry that they caused me trouble by asking me to buy it for them. These are your true friends. And they make me willing to spend the time shopping for them.

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Make the shopping trip a lot easier for yourself by making RULES

Then how to avoid other troublesome “friends”?

Even though you do not sincerely want to do them this favor, but it may be rude to say not to them right away. How to achieve a win-win situation? My tip is, be frank and straightforward.

Tell them:

  1. You only have an afternoon for shopping;
  2. You are only going to this one outlet and will only buy the things that are available at the store there;
  3. They will need to pay you back in RMB at the exact ratio when you make the purchase, tax included;
  4. Sometimes when you finally deliver the iPhone or Tory Burch handbag to them, they blame you for choosing the wrong color, or the price not being significantly lower than the price they are sold at in China. So tell them, in advance, it is their job to do thorough research about prices, and they should make it clear in the shopping list that they do not want you to buy something if it is higher than a certain price;
  5. Ask them to make their shopping lists as specific as possible. So that you do not have to anxiously wait in line in these stores and ask them if they can accept a different color of the handbag they wanted. Keep in mind that due to the 16-hour time difference, they will probably be asleep when you are doing crazy shopping for them.
  6. At last, ask them to understand that you are not being tough with all these “rules”, this just makes things easier for both of you.

Making these rules in advance makes these not-so-close friends more cautious when making their shopping lists for you. Since often times they fail to consider all the trouble you will go through in order to do them a favor. Ask them to understand that you are sacrificing your spare time to do them a favor (the underlying message being “they cannot take this for granted”).

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Do not feel bad if you appear to be unfriendly with them

It is part of Asian culture to “make compromise”, “put others first” and “not to say no too easily”. I understand that sometimes us Chinese students will feel bad if we say no to unwanted shopping lists. Eventually, we would accept their requests even we do not want to. And we get blamed at when we fail to get them the exact same items they had asked for.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

SPEAK UP AND DO NOT FEEL BAD.

You need to know for yourself that, it is not your job to do them this favor. And they should understand that, too. If they keep pushing you or even blaming you, you can care less about your relationship with them.

You will be able to tell who your true friends are, and who are just taking advantage of you. For the latter, do not feel bad if you say no. You can say no whenever you want to, but if you do say yes to their requests, do your best to keep that promise.

Are you doing a lot of shopping for your family and friends, too? I hope you are truly enjoying it and shopping for the people you love.

Happy thanksgiving and have a fun black Friday shopping!