While I'm away, readers give the advice.
Doing anything is difficult when a faraway loved one is ill
Anonymous: On finding out a family member is ill when you're not in a position to help: Speaking as someone who lost my mom to cancer when I was just out of college, my advice is to go easy on loved ones and yourself. I found that — living hundreds of miles away during my mom's illness — it was just "hard to be." Hard to be away, hard to be home, hard to be taking care of the family, hard to be at work, hard to be with friends, hard to maintain any sort of balance. So don't try. Just take every day as gently as you can, and be thankful for the time you have with someone.
If something is bothersome, say it for the sake of the relationship
Maryland: On being "nice" even though something is bothering you: I AM GOING TO GO OUT OF MY MIND IF I READ ANOTHER LETTER FROM SOME PERSON WHO JUST WON'T SAY SOMETHING WHEN IT'S BOTHERING THEM!!!!
Sorry to yell. I just get so mad at that behavior. I find it sneaky and untrustworthy. Someone like this will say she is trying to be a supportive friend — makes her sound like a real martyr — but underneath she is judging and withdrawing.
People try to say they are being nice, but withholding like that is what kills a relationship. They are too chicken to say something and take their lumps. They often hold it in and then explode over some unsuspecting person who had no idea anything was wrong.
BYOB wedding reception preferable to excluding friends
L: On BYOB wedding receptions: Okay, you've got the great venue, good food, great friends, my bestest ever day . . . and then!!!!
Two hundred percent markup on cheap wine.
And it means cutting out friends.
So when you get invited to a BYOB wedding, as a wedding present, why not get some other friends together, find out how many folks are attending, and go buy a couple of cases of wine on sale?
In other words, the bride and groom want you there, you want to be there, and they have this horrible compromise between having their friends, or paying for alcohol and not having their friends.
Beats the silver-plate pasta server or bad crystal vases any day.
Older men may bring maturity, stability to relationship
L: On being attracted to older men for reasons that have nothing to do with mining precious metals: "Stability" can mean just that. It can mean that "drinks" are a glass of wine with dinner and a scotch and soda before, instead of beer pong, and "a night out" means dinner and the theater instead of pub-crawling until 3 a.m.
It can mean that a man knows what he wants in a relationship and isn't interested in having a string of willing bed partners. It can mean a man who is thinking about marriage and children. And if it's financial, stability can mean as little as the difference between a regular paycheck from a regular job and minimum wage from part-time work plus a scholarship check at the beginning of each semester.