9/8/2020 8:03:00 AM Reader creeped out by social media acquaintance
DEAR HARRIETTE: There is a creepy guy who follows me on social media. I have known him since before there even was this way of communicating, but I haven't spoken to him in years. Then out of nowhere he started commenting on my posts. After that, he began to send me long, mostly nonsensical emails. I'm not quite sure what to do. He writes to me as if my postings on social media were written directly to him. He expects me to answer him and is very insistent. But I swear I haven't talked to him in years, and we were never close anyway. How can I get him to back off? -- Stalker
DEAR STALKER: Putting yourself out there in the public has its risks, including being vulnerable to the overtures of strangers or people you do not know well. The good news is you can control it -- a bit, anyway. You can block this person from accessing you. That will stop you from receiving his overtures. If he attempts to reach out to you in person, contact the police.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My daughter wore braces for nearly two years, and it cost me a pretty penny. She was supposed to wear her retainer every night afterward, which she assured me she would do. We are now at two years later, and she says her retainer doesn't fit anymore -- presumably because some molars have come in. When we went to the orthodontist, I was assured that the reason the retainer doesn't fit is because my daughter stopped wearing it and her teeth shifted. I am so mad. To have another retainer made will cost $1,000. I think my daughter should be penalized for this irresponsible behavior. Am I overreacting? -- Ill Fit
DEAR ILL FIT: We all need to discover that there are consequences to our actions. Your daughter made an expensive mistake. To penalize her might help to reinforce the importance of following up on agreements that you make. As much as I would like to say that you should forgo the retainer, I do know that if your daughter doesn't get a new one, the chances are great that her teeth will begin to shift back to their original state, and all of your investment will be for naught.
What kind of punishment might work? Figure out something your daughter can do around the house or for others that would be worth $1,000 over time. It could be a community service project. It could be additional weekly chores at a particular rate that she works off over time. Whatever you choose should be measurable so that it's clear when she has completed her tasks. Of course, one part of this should be actually wearing the retainer every night, or she loses some of the money she's accrued.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.