Family Matters

Posted on | March 23, 2017 | Comments Off

Dear Short Answers:
I have a large family that I see rather infrequently (due to distance, not compatibility).  Every couple of years one of my siblings or cousins shows up at our house either “unannounced” or with only a day or two notice.  I used to find it extremely annoying and mentioned it to them after their visit but that didn’t do any good.  So I’ve just gotten over my annoyance and now just accept that this is my family’s way of doing things.  Unfortunately, my husband has NOT gotten over it and will remain angry and silent for the duration of their stay which makes the visit even more stressful on me than it needs to be.  We are both in our 70s and things are not going to change.  How do I convince hubby to chill out a bit and relax.  I do all the work when guests are here anyway.
Joan B.

Dear Joan:
We commend you  both on your commitment to your family and your unconditional acceptance of their quirky ways. Tell your husband that he’s right. And so what. He isn’t going to win this one so just “man-up.”

What About a Day Job?

Posted on | March 15, 2017 | Comments Off

Dear Short Answers:
One of my children desperately wants to be an actor and has worked very hard to be a success. But no matter what he does — classes, auditions, networking — he doesn’t get any paying jobs.  Which means that I continue to pay his rent so he doesn’t end up on the street.  He is 26 years old now.  If I continue to pay his rent, am I helping him to achieve his dream or am I just helping him to avoid facing reality and get a real job?
Paying Parent

Dear PP:
We are great believers in the life saving value of personal independence. You are enabling dependence, which in our view, is not good for any of you. Tell him you wish him all the best, but that achieving his dream must include financing it.

1 person likes this post.

Slippery Slope

Posted on | March 15, 2017 | Comments Off

Dear Short Answers:
I am 28 and I  just got engaged and I love my girl but she keeps telling me I drink too much. Doesn’t she understand that drinking is part of who I am? Should I tell her to love it or leave it alone?
Gonna Be the Groom

Dear Groom:
It is easy to think that drinking, or smoking, or any other personal habit is “part of who you are.” However, if at 28, in the opinion of someone you care about, you are already drinking too much, it is worth considering. If it is possible for you to cut back, and do so cheerfully, we suggest you try that.  If you can no longer “take it or leave it,” we can virtually guarantee that this will become a big problem.  Sooner than you think.  Give this some serious thought. We know of what we speak.

Glitter and Gold

Posted on | March 15, 2017 | Comments Off

Dear Short Answers:
Through a hurtful set of circumstances, my brother’s wife got all my mother’s jewelry when my dad passed. I thought I could handle it but it comes up for me a lot — with enough bitterness to leave a bad taste. She never even met my mother! I don’t even care if she keeps the valuable stuff but I really want some of the everyday things.  Should I let it go? It’s a year now. But I don’t think I’m going to get over it anytime soon.  My discontent is fueled by everyone who hears the story or sees her wearing it all.  It doesn’t seem right (she doesn’t even know the stories) — in fact she makes them up! How to deal? Ugh.
Coveting the Family Jewels

Dear Covet:
We feel you.  We thought it was in the Bible (or something) that the daughter got the jewelry!  Since you are willing to forgo the “good stuff,” by all means discuss it with your brother or his wife. Even if they say no, you will feel better.

Don’t Get Mad, Get Even

Posted on | March 15, 2017 | Comments Off

Dear Short Answers:
I have recently become aware of some unfriendly gossip about me. It’s a small town.  I do understand why I am the target of this kind of hostility — I am very different from those who are amusing themselves at my expense but it is hurtful and potentially damaging to the work I do. Confront? Ignore? Send off my own stink bomb?
Much Maligned

Dear MM:
Bide your time. The time and manner will present itself.

A Day Late and a Dollar Short

Posted on | March 15, 2017 | Comments Off

Dear Short Answers:
I used to be really close to this guy — we were good friends for years. For a variety of reasons, some having to do with me and mostly not, he told me that he had to put our relationship on hold for a little while. I agreed at the time.  More than 6 months later, he wrote me a catch-up email. But I don’t think I want to have a relationship with someone who shelves me until it’s convenient.  Do I say so? Or just not answer?
Never Liked Leftovers

Dear Leftover:
Couldn’t agree more. One is well within their rights to propose a friendship hiatus, but there are risks in doing so. Human beings rarely enjoy being put in moth balls — and are generally less forthcoming after such an experience. He sent you an email? Really? You can explain or not. We wouldn’t.

The Work of Friendship

Posted on | March 15, 2017 | Comments Off

Dear Short Answers:
A friend of mine should have had my back — and didn’t.  I’m sure she didn’t see it that way and it will be hard to get her to understand. It makes me tired just thinking about the conversation. But I’m afraid that if I don’t talk to her about it, it will happen again. Is it worth it?

Dear Meg:
YES, it is worth it. For all the reasons you already know and understand.

It’s Your Money and Your Vote

Posted on | March 1, 2017 | Comments Off

Dear Short Answers:
Now that the government is planning to eliminate all funding to the arts, I have been getting a lot of urgent requests from local arts organizations to donate. I cannot possibly afford to give to all of them.  How do I decide how to allocate the limited funds that I have? Do I give to the big ones that are likely to stay in business?  Or do I give to the small ones who might suffer the most but might also collapse whether or not I donate?  What’s the best policy in your opinion?
Big Heart, Small Bank Account

Dear Big/Small:
This is above our pay grade — but that never stops us! Our philosophy is: #1 — Stay Local. #2 — Do your homework on the organizations you care about.  Are they 501c3 corporations? Do you agree with their mission? Do you know any of the people involved? Have they demonstrated sustainability in the past? Once you’ve answered these questions, the most deserving organizations should rise to the top.

Fashion Forward

Posted on | March 1, 2017 | Comments Off

Dear Short Answers:
I’ve never been a particularly fashionable person but my 2017 New Year’s Resolution was to try harder this year. So I hired a fashion “consultant” to help me pick out clothes that were a bit trendier.  Unfortunately, I am starting to feel ridiculous — like the two women on “Absolutely Fabulous.”  This consultant comes highly recommended by friends (and my friends all say that I look terrific) but I’m just not sure if high fashion is the right thing for me.  Should I stick with it a bit longer or should I throw in the towel and go back to my old closet of pants and blouses?
Not AbFab

Dear Not:
We applaud your commitment to a personal re-stage! It takes courage.  However, it is not surprising that after years as a sparrow you feel uncomfortable as a peacock. These are early days. Tell you consultant to dial it back a bit and talk to us again in June.

1 person likes this post.


Posted on | March 1, 2017 | Comments Off

Dear Short Answers:
A friend bought me an expensive micro-dermabrasion device for my birthday that she saw on TV. I tried it and my whole face broke out in a rash.  My face cleared up by the time I saw my friend next and she asked me if I “loved” my new device.  I didn’t know what to say so I just thanked her again.  Should I tell her the truth or just let this go?
Delicate Skin

Dear Delicate:
If it comes up again, tell the truth. Lies beget lies.

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