My husband and I are expecting our first child in January. We’re very excited! We want to protect him during the height of flu season, so I asked our parents and siblings to get flu shots. My family is onboard. But my in-laws keep saying, “We’re not flu shot people.” My husband and I agree that no one can see the baby without getting a flu shot. Still, I worry that my in-laws will see this as an empty threat or claim to have gotten shots when they haven’t. I’ve sent them many articles and videos, which they’ve ignored. How do we convince them?
Step away from the ultimatum! I may be wrong, but I sense that’s where you’re headed. Of course, you are absolutely right to insist on your son’s safety — in this case, flu shots and whooping cough vaccines for anyone who comes in close contact with the baby. That’s your job!
But do you know what else is important? Creating a cocoon of love around your son. Your in-laws will likely be pretty huge fans of his. And few things make people edgier than the words “or else.” For now, take a vacation from emailing the grandparents-to-be articles about flu shots. (Your in-laws don’t get it yet, so they probably thought you were a little overstimulated after the fourth message.)
When you next see them, explain the idea of creating a protective bubble of health around the baby. Do it gently, and engage your husband. Say, “We understand that you don’t get flu shots normally, but they’re really important for keeping the baby — with his fragile immune system — healthy. We all want that, right?”
By casting this in terms of your newborn’s welfare, it’s hard to imagine them refusing. If they do, without good medical reason, it’s your call. But I’d speak to your doctor again (and your husband) before banning them from the birthing suite. And unless they’re pathological liars, don’t worry about them faking flu shots. That would be shocking and unlikely behavior.
Thanks, but I Don’t Need Work
I am a reasonably attractive 60-year-old guy. I have a close female friend who is looks obsessed. She had a face-lift and some other cosmetic procedures last year when she was 47. A few months before my birthday, I was unsure how to celebrate it. I was thinking of a party or a trip. She said, “You should get your eyes done.” I was shocked! When I told her she’d hurt my feelings, she apologized for making me feel bad. But she never said I didn’t need an eyelift. I’m still upset. What should I do?
You may need to manage your expectations of apologies, Steve. Your friend was way off-base in suggesting an eyelift for you. Still, when you told her that she’d hurt your feelings, she apologized. She was sorry for making you feel bad. But a good apology doesn’t include a lie. It would have been wrong (and fairly implausible) for her to say that she’d changed her mind about your eyes.
But who cares what she thinks? She had her whole face done when she was much younger than you! So, the question is: Can you forgive her for hurting your feelings and thinking that your eyes are a little droopy? Because that’s what accepting her apology will entail.
Do I Not Have Hands?
My husband and I are in our 20s. When we say hello to friends or even acquaintances, he gets to shake hands with them, while they come in for a hug with me. This happens mainly with men. It makes me uncomfortable. Why should I have to hug people to say hello, especially if I don’t know them well?
You don’t! Just extend your shaking hand, and keep it extended. Their outstretched arms will fall eventually. No need to say a thing. You’re not obliged to justify yourself. These guys are just following a weird norm in your social circle. (Presumably, your husband is hugging women he barely knows too, right?) You can always add: “I like shaking hands!” if you think it helps. It’s all your call.
I’ve been going to the same barber every other week for 15 years. The shop’s owner changed recently, but my barber is still going strong. When I settled the bill last week, the new owner said, “That will be $ 25.” But my barber interjected that he charges me $ 35 (which I paid). Now, I feel like a chump. There’s nothing spectacular about my haircut. Time for a new barber?
As a fellow who’s gone to the same amazing barber for over 20 years (hi, Aki!), I’d never advocate discarding a happy long-term relationship. Your experienced barber is entitled to charge more than a newbie straight out of school. But if the price tag bothers you, ask about it: “Are you charging new clients $ 25?” Your barber may explain the pricing structure at the shop or reduce his rate. Just promise to look before you leap. There are a lot of bad haircuts out there!
For help with your awkward situation, send a question to SocialQ@nytimes.com, to Philip Galanes on Facebook or @SocialQPhilip on Twitter.
Lighthearted advice about awkward social situations.
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