Game Change | Bad Influence | No Chance of Showers

Game Change

Dear Micah,

I want your opinion on how to handle a specific predicament that occurs at every family function I have.  I say family but it could just as well be a neighborhood party.  It’s that rampant a problem.  Every time I host or attend a party, someone inevitably turns on a sporting event and we all have to sit and listen to men, and some women, shouting and screaming at the TV.  All other conversation ceases because we are drowned out.  Kids are hushed up and yelled at for playing with their cousins or friends.  It really ruins all the fun for everyone else.  What’s the best way to approach this hot button issue.



Dear Mollye,

Anyone who lives in the south understands this particular predicament.  When football season comes, no gathering is safe.  Nothing’s safe anyway now that we have so many sporting channels broadcasting 24 hour coverage of every football, baseball, basketball, golf, soccer, and yes, bowling tournament that goes on anywhere on the planet.

I am personally amazed every time a person just feels that they are automatically permitted to turn on the host’s TV and find the nearest game—especially when I’m the host.  I remember one family Thanksgiving that my partner and I walked out on because the football game was blasting through the den where we were trying to congregate and visit with relatives, but some idiot brother-in-law just had to watch the game instead of spend time with the family he only saw twice a year.  When he refused to turn off the TV we just left.  I think I ended up having KFC that Thanksgiving, but when Christmas came, the TV was eerily blank screened, so our point was made.

Mollye, there isn’t going to be an easy or tactful way to address this issue.  People take their sporting events very seriously.  They also are smug enough to think that everyone else is just as interested, and if they aren’t, then they’re in the minority.  There are always plenty of guests who agree with you and don’t want to hear a game blaring over the party, but they don’t have the (pardon the pun) balls to voice it, so instead they pretend they like the game too so that everyone else will think they are cool.  I hate those people.  I bet if I decided that we should all be watching a marathon of Modern Family they wouldn’t all be so accommodating.

So, my advice to you is going to be uncomfortable and is going to place you in the position of house bitch, but depending on how much this issue bothers you will determine whether or not you follow the advice.  The next time you throw a party, unplug your televisions from the wall.  If someone plugs it back up or calls your attention to the fact that the set isn’t working, just say, “I invited you to my party because I like you and find you entertaining.  I didn’t invite a sports fan to a game party.  So let’s have an evening where we get to talk to you and enjoy you.”  If they argue the point or try to persuade you to turn on the TV, you can always add, “So what you’re telling me is that on your own you are not interesting enough to carry a conversation, or to entertain us and you must have the television to distract from how mind-blowingly boring you are?”

If that doesn’t get the point across then just tell him (and its always a him) “In this day and age you can easily DVR any program that you don’t want to miss.  If seeing the game in real-time is so important to you that it has to disrupt my party which I have spent a great deal of time and money on, then I suggest that you return home to watch your game and, in the future if there is a game conflict with one of my gatherings, decline my invitation and sit home with your TV.”


Bad Influence

Dear Micah,

I hate my nephew.  He lies and he cheats and he doesn’t play well with others.  He likes to tear things up and doesn’t care that it belonged to somebody else.  He is a terrible influence on my son and I don’t want him around him.  My son is a good kid until he gets around his cousin and then he does all kinds of things he shouldn’t.  How do I handle this because I am close to my sister-in-law and my husband is very close to his brother.  I don’t know a good way to break off with them, but I don’t want our sons playing together anymore.

At Wit’s End


Dear Wit,

There is no good way to severe ties to relatives, especially if it’s all over one of their children.  I know that some experts say that no child is born bad, but I personally think that I’ve seen my share of awful kids with wonderful parents, and I think sometimes an egg can just be rotten from the start.

Maybe your nephew is one of those rotten eggs.  Maybe his parents have caused him to be this way, who knows, it really isn’t important.  The only important thing that concerns you is how your son turns out.  If your son behaves badly around this child, then you do have to keep your son away from this boy as much as you can.  Your son’s future isn’t worth sacrificing just to save from hurting some in-laws’ feelings.  You can’t have your son turn into a hood because of his cousin’s influence.

However, and I think you should really think about what I am about to say, why is your son so impressionable?  This kid is not going to be the only bad seed he’ll ever encounter.  Your son has to be equipped with the know-how to be around bad people and not turn into one.  I think you and your husband need to have some good serious talks with your boy and try to see what makes him want to follow-the-leader when it comes to this cousin.  He needs to learn to be a leader himself if being a follower means falling prey to following bad examples.

As for how to break ties with your in-laws, you don’t actually have to break things off totally if you really like this couple.  Start doing more adult activities and leave the kids at home with separate sitters.  Go to a nice dinner without the kids.  Go to more adult-themed movies.  Go to see comedians at local comedy clubs.  There are lots of things you can do to cut out many of the situations where your kids would come together.  You may still have to get together as a family from time to time, but you could begin to segue things to where at least part of the time the kids aren’t included.


No Chance of Showers

Dear Micah,

If a friend is pregnant with a second child and wants us to throw her a shower, is that asking too much?  This isn’t an opposite-sexed child either.  She had a boy two years ago and is having another boy now.  I’m in a spot cause she’s my best friend, but this isn’t sitting well with our other friends.  Nobody wants to come and nobody wants to buy her a shower gift cause its not her first time.



Dear L.S.,

Its never appropriate for a person to request a baby shower, but especially if its a second child and even more especially if it’s a same-sex child as their first.  I have known of second showers being given if you had a different sex than before or if many years have passed since your last child (like ten or more).  I think that you should just tell your friend that it isn’t considered proper to have another shower so soon after her first son, and if she seems peturbed by your lack of enthusiasm tell her the truth–that friends are not planning to attend because no one threw them a second shower when they had another child.  Your friend was probably very likely to receive some presents from friends for the baby anywaay, but now that she’s basically demanded everyone pay tribute, she is probably not going to receive a single thing.

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