How to deliver bad news

This way: You are an awesome person and I enjoy spending time with you, but I am not looking for a girlfriend / boyfriend.

Or this one: We have conflicting goals. You want to make pottery in Maine and I want to help starving children in India. You want to have a baby and I want to start a commune.

Not: You’re too good for me.

Certainly not: {no response, no response, no response, no response…….}

We think we’re being kind when we soft-pedal or outright avoid difficult conversations because we fear having them will hurt someone. But those fears are based on assumptions we’ve constructed from our own tender egos.

Continue reading


The Best Songs Ever

Right now she’s 11 and has a playlist called “Best Songs Ever” which has 125 songs on it. As she gets older, the list will narrow.

She’ll get better at making lists, but “Best Songs Ever” – if she still has a list like that – will have (I predict) eight songs on it. Maybe nine.

One song for when she was 13 or 14 and was nursing her first heartbreak. Maybe it’s actually his heart and she broke it. She’ll lay on her bed in her room and lock the door and write in her diary and listen to that same song over and over again. It’ll make her feel as sentimental as a kid can feel at that age. She’ll write something along the lines of “I remember when life was much simpler and all we worried about was whose house we were going to have dance practice at.”

Continue reading

What it’s like to be 11

When you sat there on the screened porch, a half hour late for your friend’s birthday party while we debated whether to call a locksmith or continue trying to pick the lock ourselves, you were calm and mature, eerily so, and I waited for you to snap.

“Lily, I can’t believe how calm you are,” I said.

“You should see inside my head. In my head, I am on the floor kicking and screaming,” you said. Continue reading