There is a lot of faux-surprise in the media that friendly countries say rude things about each other.

This is no surprise. Friends do say rude things about each other. It is part of the normal course of relations between people that they sometimes find each other frustrating or irritating, and letting off steam about it to other friends is part of the normal course of things as well. It doesn’t make a friendship any less good; indeed, having a safety valve will make a friendship stronger. The same point applies to family.

It is true that too much of this becomes gossip, which is bad. I try to do it as little as possible. But I saw it as an important part of growing up to accept that other people do it about me.

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