Kenneth Geyer in Centennial, Colo., writes: As usual, you hit another home run. I wonder if sometimes we allow these negative people into our life as a way to make ourselves feel better. Kind of like my life is never as bad as “John's." That guy is messed up! Thanks for the good read.
Susan Marvin writes: Actually, Mike, I have found that you can block out negative people from your life. I have ended friendships that have made me someone I do not recognize or like. I also have distanced myself from family members who constantly make me feel as though I am not good enough. And I was the person who always picked the wrong guy until Mr. Right convinced me to take a chance on him — today is our 8th wedding anniversary. So my point is, you can dwell on the negativity or you can rise above it and live life the way you choose. I am now climbing down from my soapbox!
Familia L. writes: My own Grrr is when a writer obviously runs out of material! Your Grrr about idiots and firewalls sounds like a complete fabrication. Is it that hard to find irritating material? What kind of friend are you? "I tolerate him because he's a friend." You outed an idiot friend who doesn't exist because he behaved like anyone feeling like they just got their break? And Rolex and Baccarat, puullllease! That was the most haphazard article I've read in ages. Next time, let the deadline pass.
Simon Cirasa writes: Great column, Mike, One of your best ever. I have long theorized there are “strong” and “fragile” people. “Strongs” eventually need to make their life complete with maybe only one or two “fragiles” in their lives, but mostly keep to cavorting with other “strongs” or they will never really be happy or relaxed. Hey, if she/he is screwed up, let someone else deal with it. Most of us haven’t fixed our own problems yet.
Paul Smith writes: Booker T. Washington said: “Associate with people of good quality, for it is better to be alone than in bad company.” A few years back, my wife and I found ourselves surrounded by people like this … We had just collected a group of hapless “friends” who always seemed to bring their drama into our lives. All too often, you find “friends” whose lives are always full of drama, reaping the consequences of their poor decisions. You want to help, try to help, and just get sucked into their problems. DON’T LET IT HAPPEN! Screen your calls, don’t return their calls and don't answer the door! Politely, firmly disengage from the madness ... It was tough and a little awkward, but we have managed to shake free, and have a great group of true friends and peers now. Life is too short, so don’t let these Obliviots drag you down! You’ll be happier for it.
Sara in Wisconsin writes: "Wouldn't it be nice if there was a switch that you could throw that could simply shut the negative people out of your life?" Normally I really like your column, but maybe you should reread your July 10 installment in the context of the above statement you made. Your griping about friends (folks you choose to have in your life) and family (folks who will always be in your life) came off a bit insensitive and, well, negative, considering you're not talking about your garden-variety random Oblivion but people who actually believe you to be part of their lives. Pray for those with problems and sincerely hope for the best, try to remember folks' redeeming qualities, offer support in the spirit of kind-heartedness, and try not to whine so much about friendships you choose to continue. Personally, I think life is much less stressful when you flip the switch, attempt to accept the people in your life as entire packages and go with the flow — why wrangle with the negativity of "firewall rules" and shutting people out? I'm not saying you don't have good reason to be frustrated, but geez, take a step back, breathe, and reboot.
Eva Puorro in Norwalk, Conn., writes: Mike, another great column today. It struck me on so many levels ... where do I start? We all have had the friend who is so needy and is always going through a crisis "du jour" that they just suck the life out of you. It is always "about them" ... you begin the feel like a therapist except you're WORKING for FREE!! Love the firewall idea ... I've always referred to mine as "the filter." The firewall keeps one's sanity and self respect!! Thanks so much for your column. Nice to hear a voice of reason among the craziness!!
Staci in St. Louis, Mo., writes: You forgot about the friend that always has to one-up you. You break up with a guy for normal reasons and the friend comes back and says, "Well, the last guy I dated cheated on me." Or you get a new job or promotion that you're excited about, and the "friend" says, "That's funny, I still make more than you." He or she always has to be better or worse off in some way. They can't just be supportive. No, that would make the relationship too easy. I don't seem to keep those friends for very long.
Brian Owens in Tallahassee, Fla., writes: Mike: I really enjoy your column and you usually hit it right on the nose. Here is my Grrr! What gives people the idea that it is okay to just lash out a tirade laced with profanity and tons of other nastiness anywhere they want? More times than I cam remember in the past few months, I have been in a restaurant, movie, mall or some other very public place and all of a sudden I hear this junk... and the people are obviously oblivious to my 2-YEAR-OLD daughter who is within arm's length from them. I mean, COME ON! She already repeats everything she hears. Of course, if you have the nerve to say something, which I have a couple of times, they get violently angry and begin to threaten you, again, in front of your kid. Are people really that oblivious? The answer is, of course, yes. They think it is funny and make no attempt to hide their conversation ... if anything, they say those words louder than the rest.
FOX News intern Katherine Sands writes: Why is it that everyone’s family is crazy? I have yet to meet one family who is “perfect,” even though they may seem that way in the Christmas card every year. Every family has demons and carries baggage. So, in my opinion, I think you should love and respect your family the best you can, no matter how bizarre they may seem, because when it comes to family, the grass is never greener on the other side.
LF in Dallas writes: Grrr to the co-worker who chews — no, smacks, chomps, slurps — with his mouth wide open. We eat lunch at our desks so everyone within earshot of this guy is made to suffer through the lunch hour, snack time, etc. on a daily basis. I've been told that in a certain culture, it is appropriate to eat loudly as a compliment to the chef; however, the chef in this case is nowhere nearby! Compliment? Ha! More like an excuse to use poor, poor manners. Grrr.
Bonny Sholmire in Shelbyville, Texas, writes: It really amuses me to read about all these “offended” Italians and other “Dash-Americans.” We who live south of the Mason-Dixon Line have been made fun of for ever so long and no one ever jumps to our defense. Movie stars try to put on exaggerated Southern accents and people refer to NASCAR as “a bunch of rednecks going in circles.” But, hey, we don’t get our pants into a wad, we just laugh all the way to the bank when those northern companies close shop and move to the friendly South, where people still think they can work for their wages and don’t need a corrupt union to tell them when they can or cannot work! So, y’all just keep on complainin’, and we will keep on grinnin’ and enjoyin’ our prosperity! — From a transplanted West Virginian who had the good sense to marry a Texan.
Leslie Thompson in the Philly suburbs writes: It irritates me to hear about people suing tobacco companies (for example, that $145 billion Florida case), mainly because people should know by now that cigarettes are bad for you. And no one's shoving them into your mouth either (just like no one's force-feeding Big Macs to people). Just get over your stupidity, smokers, and blame yourself for smoking, not the maker of the product! Philip Morris is forced to do commercials about how to quit because of people who apparently don't read labels or have general knowledge of how to stay healthy.
Pat S. in Boston Mass., writes: Mike, I am so sick and tired of all my soccer-loving friends telling me I'm uncultured because I don't like soccer. I think it's boring. When I say that, they respond with the typical, "Baseball is boring, too." OK, but I enjoy baseball. Plus, I'm a Red Sox fan and any game that David Ortiz is playing in usually ends up being exciting. Just because I don't want to watch a bunch of whiney injury-fakers play kick-the-ball-back-and-forth for 2 hours doesn't mean I'm uncultured. Which brings me to my next Grrr. Is it me, or does it seem like the players in the World Cup have no dignity whatsoever? Some of the "injuries" and "collisions" that occurred during the tourney were laughable. Don't these guys realize they are making fools of themselves? Do they have so little faith in their own abilities that they have to fake their way through half the game? Maybe that's why the sport is not so popular in America. In America, we are taught to simply get up and dust ourselves off after a collision or fall during a sports game. If it's really bad, we walk it off and then get back in the game. My answer to these overly-dramatic soccer players is this: Curt Schilling/Game 2 of the 2004 World Series/bloody sock.
Sheilia S. in Paris, Texas, writes: My Grrr is regarding gas station Obliviots. This morning I went to fill my oh-what-a-feeling-mobile at the local gas station and had to maneuver around not one, not two, but THREE people who felt entitled to pull up to the first pump and stop so that people after them had to back into the space left in front of them. Why not just pull all the way forward so others can pull in behind you?
Croy Kanz writes: I enjoy reading your column, but this is the first time I’ve just had to write in a Grrr … I just read about two inmates in Indianapolis who are fighting a nudie magazine ban because it “violates their civil rights.” Keep in mind that one of the two inmates fighting this ban is serving a life sentence for murder and the other is serving for auto theft and murder! And they’re complaining about their civil rights being violated? Unbelievable!
Angelia Lakeman writes in response to A.F. in Plano, Texas: What is really funny is that the “Communist” was driving a Lexus. That is the real humor. Just like these wonderful movie stars who talk about conservation and the evils of money, and they jet around to remote locations. Their hypocrisy makes me simply spin in my office chair.