1. They’ve stopped hounding you to move out.
They’ve decided you’re just part of the furniture in their home and they walk around you like they do the old, ratty sofa in the basement that your mom keeps nagging your dad to take out to the curb or the the magazine rack with eight copies of Home Living from 2002 still in its plastic wrap.
2. They no longer leave the want ads on the kitchen table.
Or college pamphlets on your night stand. Or ask about how you did on the SATs. They used to leave out the family’s phone bill hoping you’d see it and offer up some cash, but they got tired of having you remind them to pay it.
3. They’ve stopped wondering where the money is going.
After years of empty bottles of air freshener lining your desk as well as that sudden love of scented candles that you acquired after graduating high school, and coincidentally after you got that job at the McDonald’s just outside of town, your parents have stopped giving you the third degree when you ask to borrow some money, even when you swear it’s “for a haircut” that you clearly didn’t get. Or even better: “to help underprivileged children.”
4. They haven’t tried to set you up on a date in awhile.
It used to be, “Hey, that Susie has really gotten cute. Maybe I could talk to her mother for you…” or “Did you hear Connor Johnson got his degree in Pre-Med? You should really go see how he’s doing.” It’s not like any other parents are coming to them asking about you except to inquire as to whether or not you’d be available to water their houseplants while they’re on vacation.
5. They no longer include you in their plans.
“Hey, hun, we’re going to meet the Millers for dinner. Oh, you want to come? Oh, well, you just never wanted to before, maybe it’s best if you just order in. Here’s a twenty.”
“Daddy and I are taking a vacation to Martha’s Vineyard. Maybe while we’re gone you can take out the trash or watch lots of porn and not shower for a week.”
6. They’ve stopped asking where you’ve been.
Remember when you’d come home late and your kitchen would suddenly look like an interrogation room from an old “cops and robbers” type of movie? When you get home now the lights are off and your parents have been asleep for hours.
7. Your mom doesn’t bother cleaning up your room anymore.
You’ve been wearing the same pair of jeans for three weeks and no one has said a damn thing.
8. Your dad hasn’t mentioned your piece of shit car since last May.
Remember when dad was always like, “When’s the last time you checked the oil in that deathtrap? Do all the seat belts still work? How’s the alignment?” and now he’s like, “I hear there’s a lot of wrecks on the Interstate this time of year. Have you gone for a drive lately?”
9. Your siblings act like you’re mentally ill when their friends come over.
“He’s just been having a really rough time figuring out what he wants to do with life.”
“That guy left her when he went to Miami on a football scholarship.”
“The housing market crashed a few years ago and, well… you know.”
10.They still haven’t asked you what you want for Christmas.
When you graduated high school you got a used car with a high safety rating. Three years ago, a new suit. Two years ago, a decent buzz clippers set. Last year, some cash and a couple gift cards. This year you’re not even getting cash. You’re getting some pajamas and a couple scratch-offs. Here’s hoping you’re luckier than you are ambitious.