Would you like your parents if they weren't your parents?

Mr. Rilch said to me earlier this evening that if his mom was not his mom, he would not be interested in getting to know her better.

I thought that was interesting, because if my mom was not my mom, I would probably think she was awesome. Many people already do. She’s quite popular in large groups, like church groups, or earlier this year, the John Edwards campaign :(. But as people get closer to her, they discover her high-maintenance banshee tendencies. My sister didn’t believe me. Then my parents moved to where she is. My cousin didn’t believe me. Then she visited enough times that my mom stopped being superficial with her. She’s an engaging person, as long as you don’t invest too much. By the time you do, though, it’s too late.

So how do you feel about your parents? Would they be a good neighbor, a close friend, or just the guy/gal who lives on the corner.


My dad’s a flake and my mum’s a thoroughly unpleasant, know-it-all type person. Hell, I’m related to them and I barely spend any time talking to either of them.

I’d definitely like them. From the time we were teenagers, all our friends truly liked our parents (and still do!). My mom was very sweet and accommodating, and my dad was a musician, and was always willing to listen to and discuss our latest rock-and-roll passion. They never treated us like people they’d rather not be around.

No, I don’t even like them because they are my parents. They are two only children who have completely different world views to me. They are really self centred, superficial and mean spirited. They are the kind of person that if they worked with me I would make no effort to get to know them.

However I don’t entertain any of these feelings with them. They have different backgrounds, come from different times and I have no right to judge them. So I treat them as though we are on the same page and enjoy their company, I know I can’t change them.

Yup. My pop is an awesome guy. Fun to hang out with and shoot the shit. My mom is very quiet and can come off as unfriendly, but when you get to know her she’s a very warm and caring person.

My in-laws on the other hand, not so much. . .

My mom is the kind of person who, once every 10 conversations, we really hit on something deep and cool. The other 9, it’s all superficial shallow small talk that drives me insane. So no, I’d probably not seek out a friendship with her.

My other mom and my dad are awesome. Brilliant articulate gifted people who I love to talk to and hang out with. My dad and I take a while to warm up, though, so every time I visit, we do the small talk thing for a while, just start to get into deeper stuff and then it’s time to go. She’s a different story - she and I can just jump into a connection and continue a conversation we left off 12 months ago like it was 12 minutes ago.

I loved my dad, but I would not have been friends with him had he not been my dad. He treated me well and gave me his best and hoped for my life to turn out well.

But we weren’t even remotely alike. Enough so that I often remark that if there weren’t enough familial resemblance I would swear I was adopted.

Wow. I envy those of you that have awesome parents. I do not associate with my parents any more because I came to the realization that if I were not related, I would not choose to be around them.

My father was a bitter drunk by the time I was born and never really overcame that. He has dementia now, barely knows anyone, and is a very angry old man now.

My mother was an enabling martyr at best, attempting to use guilt to control everyone around her while simultaneously handing my only female sibling anything she wanted. She makes digging remarks about people when they are not quite out of earshot while smiling to their faces. She continues to do all this to this day.

No, I do not associate with either of them. It is a painful thing for me as I am not a cold person. I just can not inflict that kind of pain on my wife & kids any more.

Yes, I’d definitely like them, although I’m not sure I would have met them if they weren’t my parents (unless they were friends of my hypothetical parents in this scenario).

My dad, hells yeah. He was a Civil Engineering professor (for about 30 years). He was one of the most intriguing professors you could ever hope to have. He is very intelligent with a dry wit, yet can get along with most anyone. Back in his drinking days he and another professor used to host beer-and-pizza parties for the student ASCE chapter. Right up my alley!

I meet other engineers all the time who took his classes; many of them swear that he was their favorite professor of all time. In fact, I met someone this week who told me yet another story about the famous Dr. K. These stories are legion. :slight_smile:

I think I would like my mom, but her personality is not one I’d choose for a friend. She was a very loving and caring person, very sweet and considerate, but she could be ditzy and she had some odd phobias about things. I think being around her would have been irritating (if she hadn’t been my mom).

I, too, envy those that have awesome parents. Mine weren’t great.

I definitely could see myself getting along with my mom if she wasn’t my mom, though sometimes she can be very blunt and if you don’t know her, it could really put you off. She always has to be right, too.

My dad? No way. Sometimes he’s pretty okay and others I don’t even like him. He has zero social skills and is a raging narcissist. Deep down he tries to be a good guy, but I only know that because he is my dad.

I think I once heard someone say something akin to, “Family is God’s way of putting people together who otherwise would have absolutely nothing to do with each other.” Was that Mark Twain?

Yes, my parents are awesome. Well, my dad is awesome. My mom CAN be awesome, but sometimes she drives me nuts. But I spent a month and a half with them over the summer and I saw how she interacts with new friends/strangers and I was amazed at how generous and friendly she is with them. But they don’t have to live with her tendency to reorder reality to make it fit her plans. You can tell her something a hundred times, but if she doesn’t want to hear it, she just won’t. And then if you get frustrated that you’ve told her you AREN’T going to do x, no matter how many times she’s asked, she gets all defensive and hurt and why did you never tell her that before?

My sister and I would get along considerably better if we weren’t sisters. Actually, we’re finally beginning to get along better now that she’s finally grown the fuck up.

Interesting question, I’d thought about this before.

I suppose the answer would be probably not.

My father is a quiet man, although I wouldn’t hate him, we have nothing in common at all. Except gene sequence I suppose!

My mother was a violent alcoholic and extremely judgemental of folk, and she attempted to kill me once too when I was 17!

When she died, she died of cancer and it was a horrible way to go and a distressing thing to watch. We spent long periods of time (years) when we wouldn’t talk.

We had not been talking in the year in that she died, although we made up in the last few months. Although I know we only did so because we seen her end as imminent.

But I know now that even though she’s 7 years gone in September past, I’d give anything to hear her shouting at me or complaining about something for just 2 minutes!

A recall a friend who told me he always regretted not spending more time with his parents before they died.

Parents may be the worst influence in our lives and often they don’t know when to back off or when to get involved.

But there’s more to the parent child bond than just gene sequence. No matter how cold a fish they are, you’ll find that out when you lose them.

My parents are both very negative, sullen people. For that reason I wouldn’t seek to spend time with either of them if custom didn’t dictate it. They are both funny, but ALL of their humor is sarcastic and negative. It becomes draining after a while.

They divorced when I was very young and I had no contact with my dad for a long time. Once we started talking I had the thought that anyone who met both of them independently (had one as a neighbor and knew one at work or something) would try and set them up. They seem perfectly suited for one another.

Yeah definitely. Like Kalhoun, my friends have always liked my parents. They’re very even-tempered and friendly.

Neither of my parents are educated (while all of my friends are - because my parents made sure I was educated) but they are both curious and open to learning.

If we were the same age, my parents would like me because I am nice and I know a lot of “stuff” so they’d have fun picking my brain and asking me questions like how to spell something or how stuff works. In turn, I find my mom to be very clever when it comes to getting things done and my dad extremely handy.

They definitely, without a doubt, turn me in to a “complete package” when it comes to book learning vs. “world learning” and I do not get that from any other friends. So there would be a big hole in my personality if I did not have them around.

My dad? No. It took my dad 18 years to become a good dad, and he’s still a jerk sometimes.

My mom, on the other hand, is pretty awesome. We’re more like friends than mother and daughter, and it’s been that way for a long time. She’s a fun mom—she likes playing video games, she drinks, she curses like a sailor, and she likes to watch action movies. She’s like me, only 50. I :heart: my mom. Plus, if it weren’t for the gray hair, she looks like she’s in her late 30s.

My mom is great. She and I morphed into very close friends as I grew up, and she’s one of my favorite people. She’s smart, funny, interesting, thoughtful, and just an all-around great person. We like the same things most of the time, and have a blast when we’re together.

My stepfather - well, 10 years ago, I would have said yes. He used to be a smart, funny, hard-working, and great guy. Over the last decade, though, he’s become bitter, depressed, entitled, whiny, and (in my opinion) emotionally abusive to my mother. He’s in therapy now, so I’m hopeful that the great guy returns.

My father is extremely provincial, not very smart, and very fundamentalist. He does wonderful things - he does missionary work in the Sudan, and I (a Wiccan) donate to support the fundamentalist group he works with, because in addition to proselytizing, they also take medical supplies and personnel into the Sudan when they go. But he’s told me to my face that I’m going to hell for my religion, and really, we have so little in common that if we weren’t related I don’t even know how we’d meet, much less get to know each other.

My father’s wife despises me for my spirituality and my political views, so no.

I’d like my mom. She’s got a good sense of herself and a strong spine. She’s just about my best friend.
My dad, on the other hand: I don’t associate with him now because I finally realized he is just the type of person I want nothing to do with. He’s a bigot, he doesn’t value women or daughters, and he’s extremely controlling. He’s pitiful, because he isn’t well and no one in the family is really willing to take care of him. It’s sad to say, and I really don’t mean to sound cruel, but I would only take care of him for my standard rate of care that I charge my other elder clients. Otherwise, out of the goodness of my heart? Nope.

Yes, they were model parents. They taught me everything a child should be taught from basic financing to how to be a good neighbor. They never spoke ill of anyone. They were interesting to be around as adults. I’m a little bitter that my dad didn’t listen to me about shoes. He had flat feet and as he got older he stopped doing things he enjoyed and that we could share. When he finally took my advice his life was cut short by illness.

Probably not. My mom’s a lovely person, and a great mother but we’re absolutely nothing alike. My dad an I are much more similar, but only in personality, and ours is not one that attracts others like us.