Divided By Choice


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Today, I got tired of following politics non-stop, and decided to think of something just as important for a change. A person that I have always respected, and whose friendship I cherish made this comment in one of our conversations:

“I rarely have company at my house, everyone’s always so busy”.

That statement struck me as odd because this person has such a lovely home, equipped with everything that almost everyone ever dreams of having. They have a huge living area, with a humongous television screen for ballgames, movies and such. The kitchen area could produce a meal for an army regiment. The entire back side of the house has a deck that could host a live band, and this overlooks the swimming pool with many lounge chairs, umbrella’s and a fire pit.

Therefore, I could not help but wonder why everyone seemed to be so busy and this person rarely entertained at home. We all go to work and attempt to make ourselves as successful as possible. I think that most everybody out there, wants to have a “Better Homes and Gardens” type of dwelling they can call their own. Perhaps the real question is why do we want to have such a home. Of course the real answer is that our home identifies us as much as the automobile we drive. For centuries the Kings & Queens of royalty and those that aspire to be like them, have always entertained at home. Anyone ever recall a story about some commoner sitting at home and the King drops by? So it goes without saying that people have nice homes because they want to be comfortable and just as important – they want to entertain their guest and family in these comfortable surroundings.

So what are the reasons that a person could have all of this, and still “rarely” entertain friends or family? Very few people ever want to consider the reasons for this. After all, most people are not overworked hermits with a total lack of social skills. Very few people really want to be totally alone unless forced to socialize with others. But no one really thinks of the social mores, habits and lifestyles of all of those involved in their lives. So I decided to think about it for them. The following represents a few of the thoughts I had on the subject.

People that don’t come to your house and why

Smokers – because you don’t allow smoking inside
Non-Smokers – because you do smoke inside, and your house stinks

Drunks – because you will not provide them with alcohol
Non-Drinkers – because everyone including yourself are drinking

Democrats – because they know that they have very little in common with you other than whiskey & cigarettes
Republicans – because they think you’re to opinionated and have no facts other than talking points to back yourself up with (at least thats the rumor)
Independents – because they just don’t want to hear either of the other parties rants

Religious Folks – because they would rather be sharing the word of God and know you don’t want to hear it
Heathens – because they don’t want to have to watch every word they say or hear a sermon (and countless other reasons)

Parents (Anyone that has kids) – because they feel uncomfortable with what their kids may do to, or in your house. They are too concerned with the imposition that they feel is placed on you, as their kids yell and scream, or ask awkward questions. It’s just best (they feel) to not go to your house with the children.

Non-Parents – many of them feel that your time with them will constantly be interrupted while you babysit, cook, or discipline your children. Perhaps the reason for their visit is something that you should not be doing in front of the children anyway.

Therefore, until you give up your mandates and ways of thinking about smoking, drinking, religion, politics or kids – you’re going to have a beautiful home that no one wants to visit.

Would it kill you to allow a friend that smokes to light one up in your house? You can’t seriously believe that an evening with one of these people is going to give you cancer. If you really believe that your house will stink for days, and that you will never get the smell of cigarette smoke out of all things made with linen, enjoy your empty home. You are wrong – but it is your home. If you are the smoker and people don’t come to your house – you now have a clue as to why. It’s not your personality they object to – it’s your habit. Don’t expect them to understand – if by chance they do permit your vice, try not to take advantage of their friendship or family status.

Drinking in your house will not make you responsible for another persons alcoholism or signify that you condone drunks. Why not serve a beer or glass of wine? Let people know that they are your guest and insist on serving, pouring all drinks. Set time limits on when you have to call it a night, or leave to be at a previous committed function and graciously see them to the door. I mean seriously, would you rather spend the rest of your life with these people avoiding you?

When it comes to politics, nothing says that you have to respond when the subject is broached. When they ask your opinion, give it, if you have one. Don’t try to show everyone the extent of your expert knowledge on the subject. They will either disagree and try to show you how smart they are, or educate you as to why you need to think just like them. Unless someone is as well versed or better at the subject than you are, you may be better off keeping your political opinions to yourself.

Religion in your house is your choice. You should not assume that because they came for a visit that they need to be saved. This is also not the time to impress them with your biblical knowledge. If you do not care to engage in the subject (if they bring it up), listen quietly and when the opportunity presents itself, change the subject. If you are the religious type and feel that its your duty to save everyone, you might want to consider whether the people you are attempting to save, want to be saved or not. Otherwise, just go on over to the church and hang out with the choir.

Kids – Pay attention to them. I mean shower them with your questions! This will either shut them up, or give you hours of conversation that their parents love to talk about. You can welcome the children and their parents or you can sit at home and wonder why you never see them. This is really simple – just understand that children are a fact of life and expect others to put them first.

We can choose our friends but we can’t choose our family. That is, unless you’re the type that has no qualms with kicking them out. We choose our friends by engaging with like-minded individuals, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have habits we don’t support. One can either accept their habits or remove them from the next party invitations that go out.

Acceptance seems to be the key to these situations. It does no harm to accept people for who they are, while they are visiting your home. That’s why they call it a visit! A lack of acceptance is one of the main reasons that American families are so distant and divided. The other options are to learn to love yourself and enjoy the solitude.

Brian

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