You have problems, I have advice. This advice isn’t sugar-coated — in fact, it’s sugar-free, and may even be a little bitter. Welcome to Tough Love.
Photo by Michael Dorausch.
You have problems, I have advice. This advice isn't sugar-coated -- in fact, it's sugar-free, and may even be a little bitter. Welcome to Tough Love.Read more
This week we have an individual who cannot stand the baby “boo boo tummy” voice his friend does for some inexplicable reason.
Keep in mind, I’m not a therapist or any other kind of health professional — just a guy who’s willing to tell it like it is. I simply want to give you the tools you need to enrich your damn lives. If for whatever reason you don’t like my advice, feel free to file a formal complaint here. Now then, let’s get on with it.
An old friend has developed the habit of talking in a baby voice (we’re adults). We don’t see each other too often these days, but when we do meet up and when we’re saying hi, or bye, or talking about old times, or how long it’s been, or anything at all sentimental they revert to this baby voice which makes my skin crawl.
The worst bit is that their partner, who I’m a big fan of, has also picked up this habit. I overhear them talking to each other in baby voices. I’ve joked about the baby voices with mutual friends and this person has acknowledged that they do it, but it really makes me feel uncomfortable and I just want it to stop. I get embarrassed on their behalf, and don’t want others to hear when this person is talking to me like this.
How do I politely get them to stop? Both because it’s making me feel uncomfortable, and because I’m sure loads of other people think it’s pretty weird also.
Hey Adult Voice:
Wow. I can maybe understand why someone would do a baby voice with their significant other if they were both into it, but why they’re talking to you like that I have no idea. Yuck. I have a few suggestions for you, Adult Voice. Let’s make this owie ouchie all better num nums.
Because this problem is usually more common with parents who have a child who hasn’t outgrown baby talk, I’m going to treat this like they are children. You can adjust these tips to be more adult-like on your own since you’re a big boy who can tie your shoes all by yourself.
- Notice when they do it: Is it when they’re talking about something that makes them uncomfortable? Do they only seem to do it when their partner is around? If there’s a trigger for it, maybe you can avoid it — or cut it off at the root.
- Ignore it (or at least don’t reward it): If they talk to you in the baby voice, act like you don’t hear them. Seriously. Or, if they ask you to do something or answer a question, wait for them to ask you again in a normal voice. When they do, immediately respond so they learn.
- Talk to them about it: The next time they talk to you “wiff a wittle baby wisp”, use your best parent voice and say something like, “Why are you speaking to me like that?” They may not realise they’re doing it so often, and they probably have no idea it bothers you so much, so address it directly. That might nip it in the bud right then and there.
- Be chill about it: When you address it, don’t make it a big deal. Only bring it up when they are actually using the voice, and calmly explain that you think it’s a little weird that an adult is talking to you like they have a dirty diaper. If you can make a joke out of it you can both laugh at. When they use it again — they will because it’s a habit they have developed — jokingly say something like, “Use your big kid voice…” or “I didn’t quite catch that, sport…”
If those things don’t fix it, and you still can’t bear the “hewwoos” and “sowwys”, cut them out. If you wanted a baby in your life you’d have one.
Then again, you can also take the Michael Scott approach, featured in his groundbreaking business book Somehow I Manage, and just respond to them with a silly voice of your own. Actually, yeah, do that. How’s your Elvis impression?
Because I just don’t have the time or patience for all of you…
Feeling Unwanted asks:
I was planning to go to my 40th high school reunion. My life has not had much success or accomplishment. Some of that is circumstances, and I have nothing to be ashamed of and have never been dishonourable. I really wanted to see what all these people look like, reminisce, converse and have fun. As classmates make reservations, their names are listed. Only about 15 per cent of the class has registered, and more will no doubt show up, and many of the 15 per cent were my friends at the time who I would want to see.
But the 15 per cent are all, and I mean all, extremely successful and accomplished.
I am beginning to think this party was planned with a specific set of people in mind, one for which I would not have been on the guest list. Do I go or not? I would expect mature people our age not to be cruel, but the exclusivity of the attendees is making me suspect I would not be particularly welcome and that I would have been expected to see that.
You should go! Just as you would expect old classmates to have matured and be less cruel, you should have grown out of the “I don’t belong” mentality. If you want to go to your reunion and see your friends, you should absolutely do it! If it were your 10 or even 20-year reunion, I could see people still being immature and “exclusive” or “elitist” or whatever. But it’s been 40 freaking years! Screw those people’s accomplishments and success or whatever. You say you’re not ashamed, so don’t be. You lived your life and you did you.
That said, if you walk in like you don’t belong, or maintain this mindset that you’re not “particularly welcome”, people will sense that. You do belong. It’s your high school reunion too. Relax, go in proud and confident, and have fun reminiscing with your old buddies.
That’s it for this week! I probably won’t make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, but sometimes what you need is some tough love. ‘Til next time, figure things out for yourself.