DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: My mother and I were super close. When I lost her it was one of the hardest times of my life. It was even rougher on Dad. He didn’t even start dating until nearly seven years after we lost her, and when he did, he met a really nice woman, who he married.
I like and even am coming to love my stepmother. She truly is a good, solid woman. But she also wants to be my best friend, and while I appreciate her wanting this, I just don’t feel it happening any time soon, if ever. We are very different people and don’t even like most of the same things.
How do I let her know I appreciate her feeling like she wants to be a big part of my life, but that I’m just not all that interested in that happening? --- NOT BFF MATERIAL
DEAR NOT BFF MATERIAL: Given the usual complaints about stepparents, it’s refreshing to hear that someone not only likes the new family member, but is also anxious to avoid offending her.
Having been close with your mother, it’s understandable you’re not looking to duplicate that relationship. I doubt you ever will.
Rather, what could help in this situation is if you find one or two patches of common ground you can share with your stepmother to continue cultivating an at least cordial relationship. It doesn’t have to be a major commitment, and it may only be a token effort, but it might be enough to help make her feel more welcome in your world.
For example, since you both love and care about your dad, spending time doing something once in a while with him and your stepmother is one way to let her know you acknowledge she’s part of your family, if not an automatic best friend.