Ask ARL: Family, friend relation concerns
Q: What do you do when you realize one of your friends is extremely bigoted (e.g. racist, homophobic, transphobic) and they are so deeply and firmly held in their beliefs that they won’t even have a civil conversation about it?
— Friends at Ends
A: Why would you want to be associated with them? Clearly you do not hold very similar beliefs and they are most likely attacking ideas that you hold close to your heart. Going through the hassle of them not hearing your opinions is not worth the trouble. Honestly, I would end the friendship.
Q: I’m nonbinary and I have not yet come out to my parents as so. I would like to think that they would support me for who I am, but I’m scared of what they might say or think. This has been a fairly recent realization for me, so I’m nervous as to how they might respond. Is there any insight you can give?
— In the Closet
A: The easiest way to do this would be to bring up the idea of being nonbinary with them. Try including topics relating to the concept in conversations with them in the car or during dinner. The more you talk about it indirectly, the more of an understanding you will have about how they may react. Even though it might be hard, do not feel pressured to come out as it may not be safe. I wish you the best and remember, you are valid.
Q: Sometimes I feel like I’m not really connecting with my family. I go through the daily motions, yet it feels like we don’t really talk to each other. I have good relationships with my parents and my sister, but I wonder if we really know each other. Part of me thinks I should reach out to them, but I have so much to do every day, I’m exhausted, and I just don’t feel like it. Do you think this is a problem?
— Family Phantom
A: Transparency and verbal conversation are important parts of any healthy relationship. Eat dinner together at least once or twice a week. Talk about your day, as in what you guys did at work, at school, errands or other special occurrences. Talk about anything you read or saw that piqued your interest. This will allow you and your family to see what each other goes through every day as well as what your opinions are on certain topics.
Q: Recently I’ve started eating entire apples. Everyone around me tells me that I’ll get cyanide poisoning, but I’d have to eat an extensive amount of apple seeds for that to happen. Is there really anything wrong with eating whole apples?
— Bad Apple
A: The Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry claims that even small doses of cyanide can put the heart and brain at risk, resulting in coma or death. So it may be best to spit out the seeds before swallowing them.