Illustration: Pierre Le-Tan
Q: I'm single, and my siblings are married with kids. I've begun to dread going home to my family and their "why aren't you married?" questions. This Christmas, I want to go to a cabin in the woods with friends, where I will be happier. My mother says I am punishing the family. Am I?
A: "Your family tradition may have outlived its purpose. Can you make a deal with your mother? Go to the woods this Christmas, but return home in, say, April."
— Rushworth M. Kidder, founder, the Institute for Global Ethics
"If you will be really, truly (swear to God) happier with your friends—and you're not choosing to be with them to make a petulant statement to your family—then go. Any needlepoint pillow will tell you, "Friends are the family we choose." Well, you're old enough to choose to be with your friends-family in a cabin. Express to your bio-family that you love them, and that there will be more holidays to share."
— Faith Salie, host, public radio's Fair Game from PRI with Faith Salie podcast
"I disagree with my fellow panelists—spending holidays with your mother is important because it's important to her. This is part of being in a family. But there's nothing wrong with delivering an ultimatum: 'Ask why I'm not married, even once, and I'm off to the cabin.' You matter too."
— Jack Marshall, president, ProEthics