Worried military mother with no outlet

Dear Ms. Meniscus,

My son is deployed in Afghanistan. I talk about him a lot and I just heard from a friend that I'm boring everyone to death when I go on about him. Truth is I'm just worried and want to talk but now I'm angry at my friends for what they think. Any advice?

Proud & Worried Mother

Dear Proud & Worried Mother,

It is not unreasonable for a mother to carry on about her children. This is especially true if you consider the potential dangers your son faces while fighting in the military abroad.

Those who are bored with you talking about your son may not be able to relate to the idea of having a loved one serve in a potentially dangerous situation. Friends and family of police and firemen know a little bit more about these day-to-day hazards. The truth is that not everyone will identify with what is important to you 100 percent of the time, regardless of the topic.

Some tips to watch out for:

Be aware how you are framing the conversation about your son. Are you monopolizing “Girl’s Night Out” by talking about your son? Are you simply repeating the same worries and fears over and over hoping to extract a unique response from your friends each time? You can see how this topic could become mundane and one-sided conversation after a while.

Make sure to engage those around you about the people and things they hold dear and you will see that they will be more apt to listen to you. People like to listen and to be heard. Keep the conversation positive, if appropriate. Instead of continually expressing your anxiety about his being over there, try to share updates on noteworthy events going on in your son’s life while he lives in Afghanistan. These could include promotions, achievements, or even updates on if he will be coming home over the holidays.

If your friends still find it boring, or they are still generally uninterested in your son, it might be safe to bet that they are generally uninterested in you as a friend as well. In which case it would be time to reevaluate your friendships.

The risks and sacrifices your son is making to serve his country should make you proud—don’t forget that or apologize for it.

My gratitude to your son for his service,

–M

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