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The situation is that I spent about 12 years doing activity X. For a while, I really enjoyed it but about 4 years ago that stopped. I no longer got enjoyment from the activity itself, it took a significant portion of time out of my weekend and the thought of going would make me very anxious. However, my mother had been taking me since I was a teenager and took a great deal of pride in me going (and enjoyed a social side of things).

A couple of years ago I found that due to health reasons I couldn't engage in this activity for a while. This has now been resolved but I had actually been very glad I had a legitimate excuse not to go. Now this no longer applies I am feeling pressure to go back.

She drives me there and hangs out with other friends/family of active participants. The drive over and back is long and is the only extended period we get with just us since I started working.

What I want advice on is how to have the conversation that I would rather not go back to this activity, and maybe find something else that we could bond over instead (as this social interaction with just me and her was one of the few things I genuinely enjoyed about it).

Would it be best to be straight about not wanting to do it, or do you think there might be a solution likely to hurt her feelings less?

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I suggest you to first try to come up with activities, that have the same advantage as the old one, but not the downsides, and will potentially be fun for both of you. Then ask to have a talk with her alone and tell her how you feel about the activity now. I would convey the following points in this order

  1. First tell her it's about that activity
  2. You enjoyed it for a long time
  3. Now, the only thing you enjoy about it, is the time you spend with her
  4. Tell her you don't want to continue it, but don't want to lose out on the time spend with her alone
  5. Come up with your other suggestions

This way, you tell her early that you enjoy the time with her. You needn't be so explicit about how long it has been going on, but be honest if she asks - still note the bright side and why you carried on with it. If you are dishonest, she may find out and then also doubt the other things you said. Also make sure, that the other suggestions are sensible.

  • Thanks, I like this answer, especially because my worry was about how long I've not enjoyed it for making her feel bad. Not explicitly mentioning that I think will be for the best unless she directly asks. – DoctorPenguin Dec 1 '17 at 20:35
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    You can also use your forced hiatus as an entry. "You know, during those months when I couldn't do this, I realized that I didn't miss X all that much, but do miss the time with you...". – Monica Cellio Dec 3 '17 at 4:54
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This is a situation where you are just going to have to sit down with your mother, and explain that you are no longer interested in the activity. It will help if you find out why she takes such pride in that particular activity, and why it is important to her.

You will need to make it clear to her that it isn't an activity you have enjoyed for quite a long time, and if she pursues it, you may have to tell her that you continued participation solely because you knew it gave her enjoyment.

Talk with her about what you are currently interested in, why it is important to you, and see if there are ways that she can participate in your current interests in a similar fashion as to how she used to do so.

This is part of maturing, learning to communicate with your parents on a more adult, person to person level, as well as relating to them as a parent. You might feel awkward or hesitant, but the alternative is to just push down your feelings completely and continue the activity.

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