Dear Parthenon


Zachary Hiser

Dear Parthenon is an advice column where readers send in their questions.

Dear Parthenon is an advice column where editors, Xena Bunton and Carter Truman, answer anonymous questions about life, college and discuss opinions or pop culture. You can send questions through social media or email at [email protected].   

  Q: When going back home to your family, how do you de-stress or relax?  

X: Ahh, yes. The classic overwhelmed feeling of going back to your family for break, a weekend or just a few hours. The guilt of how long it took you to come back, it truly does not matter how long or short, but that seems always to be a tense conversation. But the worse guilt of all is coming back and instantly being annoyed or stressed out (even if there is no reason at all). My biggest problem is having anxiety about my work and classes. I could have only one project due, but it will have me sweating during a fun family movie night. Before leaving to meet my family, I always tell my mom about my work schedule and how I feel about it. This prepares both of us for any possible stress. Also, you can always do what you did in high school, run away for a bit. Go to your old bedroom (or someone else’s if your mother already remodeled it a month after you left), go to your car, hide behind your garage, drive to the local grocery store and do ANYTHING for a bit of time by yourself. Don’t feel guilty either; most people share the same exact feelings.  

C: If I argue with my mother or brother and need to get away for a bit and destress, I usually meet up with friends, read a book and maybe listen to some music. But if you’ll allow me some time on my soapbox, please don’t let pride get in the way of loving your family. I know that’s probably not what the person asking this question had in mind, but I can’t help think taking time to destress from your family points in this direction. Far too often, we let our pride ruin the best relationships we get in life. I’m not one to minimize the potential annoyance of family, they can be irritating, but that’s the point. Today we seem to make ourselves our opinions, adopting hardline stances to fill the void in our life; then, when others with differing views come along, we feel like they are directly attacking us as a person. But here’s the thing, if we cannot maintain the love we have with family members in the face of oppositional ideas, then we can never love those outside our family who have those ideas. So, let go of your pride, don’t let self-importance and ideology separate you from your family because it’s better to relent some points than to know you’re right but be all alone.  

Q: I have a problem with not being able to say no. What are some ways to tell people no without offending them?  

X: I LOL’d at this. Not because it is funny, but why do we do this? After all the mini pep talks I give myself before a conversation, I still let people talk over me and tell me what to do. I wish I had the correct answer for you. I wish I had the answer for myself. I would like to say that it’s not a bad thing to help people or volunteer, but the fact you’re submitting this, it has gone way too far. If you have a hard time just saying no in general, just explain that you would love to, but you have to decline because you are too busy. I try to limit myself from giving too many random excuses and just simply say I am too busy. Overall, just don’t let anyone use you or manipulate you into doing something you don’t want to do.  

I definitely need to work on this myself. At least now I know that I am not alone.  

C: Tell the truth; this is as simple as it gets in terms of advice. You should never, for any reason, lie to someone, especially if you’re just trying to wiggle your way out of something. People can always tell when you want to say no; it’s in your eyes. If you would tell them no and then offer a truthful explanation, they may not be thrilled, but at least you didn’t lie to them. The more you say no, the more people will stop asking you to do things you don’t want to do; they’ll know not to ask you when you have a big test, and they’ll understand when you say you have other obligations. The bottom line, the truth; it’s always the way to go.