A Good Question

Posted on | June 8, 2016 | Comments Off

Dear Short Answers:
How is married life a sort of business?
Just Starting Out

Dear Just Starting:
Marriage is like a business in that you make deposits and withdrawals — of emotional energy, kindness and attention. There are times when one partner makes many withdrawals — just make sure you don’t exceed your deposits.

If It Feels Creepy, It Is Creepy

Posted on | May 29, 2016 | Comments Off

Dear Short Answers:
A friend has secretly confided in me that she is planning to leave her husband.  I don’t really know either of them very well but she has come to me for help in getting a job (we work in similar businesses) and a temporary apartment.  Normally, I would be glad to help a friend find a job but I feel very dishonest given the circumstances.  Should I tell her I don’t want to do this?  Or that I will only help if she tells her husband first?  This whole situation makes me feel uncomfortable.

Dear Norah:
It is not your place to deliver an ultimatum  about how she deals with her husband but it is your right, in fact obligation, to refuse to participate in a “situation”.

What’s It to Ya?

Posted on | May 29, 2016 | Comments Off

Dear Short Answers:
A friend of mine’s mother recently passed away after a very long illness. My friend is understandably saddened by this even though he did not have a very close relationship with his mom over the past 10 years. He’s now decided, however, to sell his house and quit his job and move into the house that he just inherited which is hundreds of miles from where he lives now.  I have begged him to wait at least a year to see how he feels then but he insists that this is the right thing to do.  How do I stop him from potentially making a huge mistake that he cannot easily fix?
Very Concerned

Dear Very Concerned:
Has it occurred to you that perhaps you are unaware of all the thought your friend has devoted to making this decision? Or do you just assume that because it is different from the one you might have made, it’s the wrong one?  Either way, it isn’t cool to be so sure about another person’s choices.

This Ain’t Baseball

Posted on | May 29, 2016 | Comments Off

Dear Short Answers:
How many times do you let someone schedule a lunch date and then cancel at the last minute? I think once is acceptable, twice is rude and three times in a row means you clearly don’t want to have lunch with me.  Am I justified in simply ignoring future lunch invitations from this person?
So Annoyed

Dear Annoyed:
We think your take on this  is more than generous. After cancellation #2, we would not offer another chance.

Philosophical Differences

Posted on | May 29, 2016 | Comments Off

Dear Short Answers:
On a lark, I went to a one-day seminar on “How to Be Happy.” I didn’t expect much but it was LIFE CHANGING!  I realized for the first time that being happy is a personal decision.  One that I have to make every day.  Now when I wake up in the morning, I say to myself “this is going to be a great day.” It isn’t always perfect, but it’s way better than it used to be.  The problem is that I seem to have surrounded myself with people who wake up every day and say this is going to be a TERRIBLE day.  Starting with my husband. I’ve tried to communicate some of my new philosophy to all of them but they don’t want to listen.  I don’t think this is good for me.  Should I just start to eliminate them from my life?  I’m not sure that I can do it any other way.  HELP!!!
Slap Happy

Dear Slap:
We are delighted for you and your new insight, however we do not share your missionary zeal. You have a right to expect others to be tolerant of your happiness and optimism but they are entitled to the same respect for their world view. If  you must surround yourself only with true believers, so be it, but we would find that tiresome.

Three Is Crowded

Posted on | May 21, 2016 | Comments Off

Dear Short Answers:
I have a female friend who is in her early 70s, very attractive and in excellent health. We try to have lunch together at least once a week. She recently decided however that she wants to find a “boyfriend.”  I think this is great (for her) but she has started to bring her “dates” with her when we have lunch.  She says she feels more relaxed than if she had to go on a date by herself.  I am happy for her but I have to tell you, some of these dates are total losers and they completely spoil what used to be a very nice weekly lunch with a friend.  Should I flatly refuse to let some loser ruin our lunch together or should I let this whim of hers burn out on its own?
Out of Patience

Dear Patience:
Tell her that if she is old enough to date, she is old enough to do it unchaperoned.

Over and Out

Posted on | May 21, 2016 | Comments Off

Dear Short Answers:
I recently discovered that several people who I thought were good friends turned out not to be. They have gossiped and lied about me behind my back and have made some pretty hateful comments. Do I confront them and try to “clear the air” or do I chalk this up to experience and and keep my distance from them in the future?
Hurt and Angry

Dear H&A:
Sounds like these folks are a waste of time. You made a mistake in choosing them — don’t make it worse by investing more.

Happy Mother’s Day

Posted on | May 8, 2016 | Comments Off

Dear Short Answers:
I’m 28 years old and getting smothered by my mother. She calls me every day and asks a million questions.  She makes surprise visits where I work and brings cookies to my co-workers.  She sends me so many emails that I haven’t even read most of them.  I’ve tried to have a heart-to-heart talk with her but it always ends in tears (on her part).  I don’t want this to be the basis of our relationship for the rest of my life.  How do I get her to stop?
Can’t Breathe

Dear CB:
This is a toxic system. Obviously you don’t see how you enable it, but it takes two to do this tango. Probably both of you should see a counselor — together. This is a time bomb — disable it now. There is an independent life out there for you and for her.

What a Wonderful World It Could Be

Posted on | April 24, 2016 | Comments Off

Dear Short Answers:
Why is it important to have respect?

Dear James:
It is important to have the respect for others because it contributes to your own sense of self-esteem. However, we think it is even more important to show respect to others, because it is the basis of our social contract.

The Department of Yuck

Posted on | April 24, 2016 | Comments Off

Dear Short Answers:
My husband probably has the most disgusting habit I’ve ever seen but there is nothing I can do to stop him. Frank has a great deal of nose and ear hair and he is constantly “plucking” it out even in public.  I’ve begged him to do this ONLY in the privacy of his bathroom but he tells that it’s no different than combing your hair or putting on lipstick in public.  I disagree but I am getting NOWHERE!!  How do I make him stop?
The Mrs.

Dear Mrs:
For us, this would be a deal breaker. Disgusting. If you are not ready to leave him, then leave the table, the restaurant or the room whenever he goes at it.

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