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home : columns December 12, 2018

Woman having affair struggles with what to do
I never thought this would happen to me: I am a 35-year-old married woman who is having a full-blown affair.
Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Reader questions social media connections
A woman I knew professionally and have been peripherally connected to over the years died suddenly. She leaves behind several children and plenty of friends. I feel horrible about it. Though we were not close, I am sad. Part of this may be the shock of a woman under 50 dying of unknown causes. It definitely makes me question my own life expectancy. But also, I realize how I "know" more people through social media than through actually being in touch. I don't know that this woman would have ever been my actual friend, but I do think that I rely on the internet and texting more than I should. I have plenty of true friends whose voices I haven't heard for years. We stay connected electronically.
Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Friend badmouthing man with whom she had affair
One of my recently separated friends enjoys hosting get-togethers at his place. They end up being more like singles mixers, which is pretty cool. I invited one of my girlfriends to introduce her to one of his friends. She's looking to settle down, and so is he. These two have a lot in common, so I thought they would be a great couple. I introduced them, and the guy was wowed. She, on the other hand, said nothing other than that he was a nice guy. She didn't seem interested, so I left it alone.
Monday, December 10, 2018

Cousin should invest in himself, not pyramid schemes
My cousin seems to put a lot of energy into pyramid schemes.
Saturday, December 8, 2018

Friend seeks validation for his work
A good friend has been complaining about how his co-worker is always looking for validation. This same friend comes to me on a regular basis looking for validation himself. This dude sends me samples of his work so I can give my "honest opinion." The work is good, but I've had enough. Once in a while, it's OK, but this has become more and more frequent. How do I explain to him he's doing the same thing that he's complaining to me about?
Friday, December 7, 2018

Husband doesn't pay attention to wife's schedule
I had a huge argument with my husband because I feel he doesn't make enough time for me. We're both working professionals, but we approach our lives and work differently. I will see to it that I set aside time for him to let him know I'm thinking about him and I'm always going to be there for him.
Thursday, December 6, 2018

Friend needs help with shopping and food addictions
One of my closest friends has a terrible shopping habit. With all the money she's spent in the past year, I think she could have made a down payment on a home. I not-so-jokingly told her she has a problem, which she acknowledged. Now the problem is getting bigger because she's putting on a lot of weight. The last time I saw her, she looked seven months pregnant. How do I get her to face her problems without shopping or food?
Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Neighbor worried about rambunctious child
My neighbor above me has a small child who looks to be about 5 years old. This kid is always running back and forth at all hours of the night. He acts out a lot, and the other neighbors have also noticed. His tantrums are out of control. The only reason I'm concerned is because I hear it all. Like I said, they live above me. Is there a polite way to suggest they have their child tested for developmental challenges?
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Daughter afraid to leave home for college
My daughter decided to take a one-year break before attending college. I wasn't happy with this idea at all. Since she's been home the past few months, I realize she's afraid to leave home. She's now thinking about going to a nearby school instead of the university she initially wanted to attend, which was farther away. I believe the school she originally selected is the better option. How do I encourage her to leave home for the better school?
Monday, December 3, 2018

Employee must not badmouth difficult boss before leaving
How should I handle myself in a situation like that? I also have to be mindful of my own reputation. I would like to move to another gig as soon as I find something, but I've been told never to badmouth my current job in order to get to a new one.
Saturday, December 1, 2018

Woman's family should look into assisted living
We don't need more people on the streets just because this family can't cope. Would I be out of line to suggest my friend find an assisted living facility for her daughter rather than encouraging her to seek government funds for her own place?
Friday, November 30, 2018

Aspiring comedian still hounded by parents about medicine
My parents are having a hard time accepting this, which makes going home for Christmas dreadful. How do I cope with my parents drilling me about becoming a doctor?
Thursday, November 29, 2018

Annoying co-worker should be dealt with directly
I have a colleague who seems to spend a great deal of time goofing off. He's always spreading gossip, and I'm pretty sure the rest of the team doesn't care much for him.
Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Friend obsessed with marrying rich man
She isn't the most polished, and even if she were, it's tacky behavior. I thought to myself, no wonder she's single. The fact that she talks about money a lot and brings little to the table is so annoying. Do I mention this to her, or do I walk away, leaving her to figure things out herself?
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Freelancer unsure how to comfort co-worker
I work freelance, but I often interact with the same small crew of people. I was on a job with one of my co-workers, sitting at dinner after a long couple of days of work when he became visibly upset while talking on the phone. When he got off the phone, he told me that one of his longtime friends had just died. She was in her 50s -- kind of young to die, so obviously something bad had happened, though he didn't say the cause of death.
Monday, November 26, 2018

Wife angry about checks sent to mother-in-law
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been giving my mother money for my whole life. I send her small checks each month. I learned to do this from my dad when I was a teenager. He taught me that it was our responsibility as her children to take care of our mother, just as she had taken care of us when we were growing up. I haven't discussed this with anyone. It has just been my practice.
Friday, November 23, 2018

We all must remember: every vote counts
DEAR HARRIETTE: I went out canvassing for a candidate in my city because I feel so strongly that every vote makes a difference. I can't tell you how many people who are registered to vote told me that they weren't going to vote. They said they didn't see what the point of it was. I was absolutely horrified when I talked to some of these people.
Friday, November 23, 2018

Couple in deteriorating marriage should reconnect
My husband and I have been kind of going with the flow for years. We get along OK, but we are not close. I was thinking things are better than a few years back because at least we are not arguing much anymore. I realize, though, that this is not good. It's almost like we have agreed to be civil, but we hardly ever talk to each other. We are barely even roommates. When I was starting off my life, I spent more time talking to my roommate than I do talking to him. I'm not thinking of leaving him. Shoot, I couldn't afford that even if I wanted to. I'm worried that when our children go away to college, everything is going to fall apart. What can I do now to make my marriage better?
Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Couple's fights worry next door neighbor
My next-door neighbors have a volatile relationship. I often hear them arguing late at night. Sometimes it sounds like it gets violent, too. I am so worried for them, but I'm not quite sure what to do.
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Overweight sister's health is cause for concern
I look at my sister, and I am so worried about her. She has gained almost 100 pounds in the past few years. Her ankles are swollen, and she doesn't look healthy. I love her, and I don't want to see her die. I asked her if she has gotten a physical recently, and she brushed me off. 
Monday, November 19, 2018

Dear Harriette
DEAR HARRIETTE: My neighbor passed away recently. I used to see him every morning when he took his walk. We would speak, but I never went to their house. Now that he is gone, I feel like I should knock on my neighbor's door and offer my support. I don't even know his widow's name. I realize how distant people can be, even when they live in the same building. Do you think I should visit her? I can't imagine what my life would be like if my husband died. -- Neighbor in Mourning, Chicago
Saturday, November 17, 2018

Woman's hateful speech offends co-worker
DEAR HARRIETTE: I work with a woman who is clearly racist. Almost every day she comes to work, and during small talk when people typically are talking about their families or what they are going to do for the weekend, she talks about how black people are moving into her neighborhood and she wants them out. Or she brings up the immigration issue at the border and adds her perspective that immigrants should all be arrested because they are criminals.
Friday, November 16, 2018

Parents think son is involved with too many women
My son is now a young man. He is a good student in college and kind to his family. On the flip side, my husband and I see that he is too much of a lady's man. We taught him to be a gentleman and to treat women with respect. We think he is sexually involved with multiple women, and we do not condone this behavior.
Thursday, November 15, 2018

Husband doesn't want to pay for kids' college
My husband does not believe that our children need to go to college. He didn't, and he has a good job, so he figures they can do the same -- work in a trade. I didn't grow up like that. I was taught that college was a requirement.
Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Woman wants boyfriend to make intentions known
I'm pretty old-fashioned in my views. I'm one of those girls who really doesn't want to have sex until I get married; I like to take things slow.
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Embarrassed son skips tutoring appointments
My son had a terrible time at school at the beginning of this year, but he seems to be turning a corner. One class remains challenging for him. I organized a tutor, but he's embarrassed to go to him.
Monday, November 12, 2018

Parent worries son wearing nail polish is gay
My son likes to wear nail polish. He gets creative with it, just like my daughter used to. I am concerned that this could mean that he is gay, even though his behavior doesn't seem like it other than the nails. I know I'm not supposed to have thoughts about his sexual identity, but I would be lying if I said it doesn't bother me. This nail polish thing came out of nowhere -- at least as far as I can see -- and I just don't want him to take it too far. Soon he will be applying for college, and I don't want his nail color to be a distraction. What should I say or do?
Saturday, November 10, 2018

Dad upset by daughter's boyfriend's religion
My family is Christian, and my college-age daughter just told us that her boyfriend is Muslim. She is nervous to bring him home because my husband has made it clear to her that he thinks Muslims are dangerous.
Friday, November 9, 2018

Ex deserves praise for education award
When I learned about the award, I immediately thought I should reach out to congratulate him. When I told my girlfriends about it, they told me not to say anything. We did not have a great breakup. He was rude to me. He had already started dating somebody else, and it was messy. I'm not trying to get back with him. I just want to say congratulations on a well-deserved award. Do you think I should withhold my comments because he made a mistake several years ago?
Thursday, November 8, 2018

World Almanac
Thursday, November 8, 2018

Friend wants to reach out to woman with Alzheimer's
I was at an event last week and learned that a woman I have known for all of my professional life is suffering from Alzheimer's disease. I am devastated. She was a force in our community, and I would see her from time to time. I admit that when I have seen her in recent years, she sometimes was distant, but I chalked that up to her just being odd. Now I have learned that she is largely not mentally present. I am so sorry. I'm told that mostly she doesn't know people. I want to reach out anyway. Is it worth it?
Wednesday, November 7, 2018

On election day, harriette urges readers to vote
Today marks the midterm Election Day across the United States. I am writing to you today with a plea to fulfill your civic duty. My column is not a place for political activism per se, and I'm not trying to turn it into that now. But I do think it is important to point out what should be obvious from a politically aware but neutral point of view: The right to vote is precious.
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Time to stop making excuses and start exercising
I have been super busy at work and unable to exercise like my doctor told me to do. I am in a slump regarding my health. I was doing so well this year getting my weight under control, but now I feel like I have gone all the way back to the beginning. I have gained back the 15 pounds I lost last year, and my motivation is shot. My doctor cautions me to lose weight in order to get off my medication. I feel like time is up for me. I'm going to the doctor soon. What should I say?
Monday, November 5, 2018

Dear Harriette
DEAR HARRIETTE: I'm in the running for a new job at my company. The woman above me just quit to go to another company. It's obvious (to me, at least) that this is the perfect job for me. I think my bosses like me a lot, and they say I am doing a good job. What should I do to lobby for this position? I want to get to the next level at my company, and I feel that now is my chance. -- On the Move, Philadelphia
Saturday, November 3, 2018

Kids should reconnect with aging grandmother
DEAR HARRIETTE: My mother is getting up in age. While she is managing OK, I worry that my children don't spend enough time with her. We live several hours away, and what with sports and school and such, we see her only a few times a year. I try to get them to call her, but their lives are busy and filled with other priorities. I really want them to make time to connect with her. I got her a cellphone, and I FaceTime her weekly. I want them to join in. How can I get them to do it? -- Connect to Grandma, Richmond, Virginia
Friday, November 2, 2018

Reader shouldn't feel pressured to join board
I was just invited to join the community board in my town, which is wonderful. The only thing is that I am totally not available. I work two jobs, and I have a young child and a husband who works intermittently. We have a good rhythm in our home, but I'm afraid that adding anything more will upset our equilibrium.
Thursday, November 1, 2018

Daughter frustrated with suggestions for major
My daughter is in college and needs to declare a major. She is torn between several interests. When I reminded her of the things that she has shown interest in over the years, she got testy with me and didn't want to listen.
Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Parent wants to make sure kids vote
I have two children who are of voting age. I have been teaching them about the importance of voting since they were little. I believe my kids will vote in the primaries, but I worry about them and their friends. Kids these days seem so apathetic. How can I inspire my children and their friend group to take the midterms seriously? We need young people to wake up and participate in the political process. If I am too heavy-handed, they will ignore me. How can I get them to take action?
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Low-paying tenant worried about getting pushed out
The wife has been complaining about lots of things in the building, and while she was complaining she told me that she pays what is comparable to three times my rent -- for the same size apartment. I didn't think it was smart to tell her what I pay. I'm concerned, though, that these high-paying neighbors may start to push the rest of us out. I have seen it before. How can I help them to feel like part of our community without giving them ammo to try to get us out of the building?
Monday, October 29, 2018

Husband bristles at thought of learning etiquette
My husband and I grew up very different from each other. His family members were all farmers, while mine were educated and spent a lot of time in so-called high society.
Saturday, October 27, 2018

Reader must decide between two parties on same night
The crazy thing is, I just got another invitation for the same evening to another event, and the second one sounds way better than the first. The second one has an amazing guest and sponsor list. It looks great. Both are receptions, not sit-down dinners. I really want to go to the second one. It feels like a better fit. I suppose I could go to both and split my time, but I don't really want to do that. What do you think is best?
Friday, October 26, 2018

Despite family expenses, reader should save for the future
I have a hard time saving any money. I work two minimum-wage jobs, and it's not enough. I am the main one providing for my mama and my siblings. My mama was injured a few years ago, and she needs my help. My siblings range in age from 14 to 24. I know I should save for the future, but right now I hardly make enough to feed the family every week. What can I do to make things better?
Thursday, October 25, 2018

Couple drinks to the point of blacking out
My husband and I drink a lot, and I would say that we take turns drinking too much. When he does it, he gets loud and aggressive. When I do it, I have to rely on him for my memories. He says that I yell and talk too much and am pushy. I know that we are not in a healthy place regarding our drinking. I have never said this to anybody, and sharing it with you is still anonymous. But when I heard about the incident between Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford, I realized how easy it is to get into a situation like that. I'm not sure what to do next. I don't want us to do anything that we regret.
Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Teenage son losing interest in voting
I have been talking to my 18-year-old son about voting since he was a child. This midterm election will be his first time casting a ballot. I am working to keep him enthusiastic, but it is so hard. Most of his friends aren't thinking about it at all. He has been paying attention to what's been happening politically in our country, and he doesn't like it. (Who does?)
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Single woman ready to find love
I have been single for about 10 years, and I'm lonely. I have used some of those online sites to try to find companionship, and it hasn't worked. Recently, I met a man online while on a business trip. He seemed nice enough, but it turns out all he wanted was a booty call. This was before I had even met him in person! I don't want to give up yet, but I don't know what to do. I work a lot, so I don't have a whole lot of free time, but I am willing to make time to meet someone new.
Monday, October 22, 2018

New neighbor makes a bad first impression
A family moved into my neighborhood recently, and my husband and I immediately invited them over to welcome them. We included a few couples from our street, and everybody chipped in to make it a special event. We had a good time getting to know these people, but honestly, while most of us liked the wife, we found the husband to be obnoxious and standoffish. He didn't try to talk to us. More, he bragged about himself and his possessions. It was gross.

We did find the wife charming. She was pleasant and seemingly comfortable in her skin. She was as laid back as he was aggressive. I want to continue getting to know her, but I really don't want to have to keep inviting her husband to things. Is it OK to scratch him off the list?

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Neighbor's room rentals cause disturbances
I have noticed a lot of people coming in and out of my next-door neighbor's apartment. Mostly, they seem to be tourist types. A couple have been loud and kind of rowdy. I think she is renting out rooms in her home. There are too many people coming and going for these to be friend visits. I understand that people have to figure out how to make ends meet, but I have two small children, and I feel uncomfortable having so many people coming and going right next door to me. I'm pretty sure it's not legal to do this. My neighbor isn't open to talking to me. Should I call the police? I want to protect my kids.
Friday, October 19, 2018

Reader feels bad not giving money to homeless
I live in a neighborhood that has a whole range of people. I see businessmen in suits, young men who hang out on the street, old people pushing walkers and more and more homeless people. I like that there is a variety of people. I feel good about not being in a homogeneous environment, but I am conflicted over what to do when people ask me for money every day. I am barely getting by myself. I do give to my church every month, but I don't have the money to give to homeless people who ask for it -- yet I feel bad ignoring them. I don't want to be one of those gentrified-type people who ignore people who have less than I do. What else can I do? I cannot afford to give them money.
Thursday, October 18, 2018

Christmas gifts don't need to cost a fortune
I know this seems like far, far away, but I'm planning for Christmas now. Usually we go all out with gifts for the family, but this year we don't have the usual kind of resources. My husband lost his job a few months ago, and we are struggling. I have no interest in bringing up our circumstances to family, but I do need to manage expectations. Most of our family's kids are teens or young adults, so the gifts are going primarily to people who don't really need anything anyway -- grown siblings, aunts and uncles and my parents. How can I cut back on gifts without offending folks?
Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Wig-wearer scared to share her secret
 I have been dating a guy for almost a year. He is super sweet, and we enjoy each other's company. I told him I wanted and needed to take it slow, and he has been patient. I don't want to rush into anything. But -- and this may sound weird -- one thing I'm really nervous about is that I wear a wig, and I don't think he knows it. I have never spent the night with him, but I know the time will come. Plus, I wear different wigs for different occasions -- like ponytails for tennis and a bun wig for swimming. I don't think he notices. He definitely never says anything. How can I tell him that my hair isn't "my" hair? This feels almost as intimate as disrobing
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Parent needs to have conversation with teens
Forget whether he becomes a Supreme Court justice for a moment; I'm worried about my kids possibly becoming numb to hearing about sexual misconduct and for it to seem commonplace and not worth reporting. I don't know how to address this situation to make it real for my children without getting involved in a political discussion. It's not that we avoid politics. We talk about that, too, but this is real and could happen to them.

I want to talk to my daughter and son about what they would do if they were faced with a potentially dangerous situation like the one being described. How do I approach this?

Monday, October 15, 2018

Neighborhood spirit dies as it gentrifies

I know that change is part of life, but I hate that I'm thinking of moving because of what's happening to my neighborhood. I have seen newcomers look down at people who have been here for generations. This summer was the worst. New neighbors called the police a few times because folks were sitting outside talking and laughing at night on the weekend. It's like they want the traditions to end so that they can be comfortable. I don't appreciate that. What can I do to help keep the spirit alive instead of giving up?

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Weekly outings are above woman's pay grade
I have become part of a group of female colleagues at my job who like to go out for dinner and drinks once a week. It's nice to get to know these women, but I am in an entry-level role, and I can't afford to keep up with them. I don't want to come off as not wanting to spend time with them, and I also don't want to cry poor. How can I handle this? I know that bonding with colleagues can lead to opportunities, but this weekly engagement is way above my pay grade.
Friday, October 12, 2018

Friend hides work promotion from controlling husband
My friend told me she is afraid that if I brag about her and put anything on social media, her husband may learn about it and get mad at her. I think this sounds crazy. Hiding who she is from the man she is married to doesn't make sense to me. Plus, her children have no idea how amazing their mother is. This is weird and unhealthy, from my perspective, yet they have been married and doing this for more than 15 years. How can I get her to see that?
Thursday, October 11, 2018

Cougar friend obsessed with beau's age
A friend of mine has been single for years. Recently, she started dating a guy who is 13 years her junior. She seems really happy, but she also seems obsessed with his age. She showed me a picture of the two of them and then went on and on about how she doesn't mean to be a cougar. She asked me a million times if she looks young for her age. She does, but I couldn't lie and tell her she looks as young as her boyfriend. I did tell her that they look happy in the photo, and if they like each other, that's all that counts. She keeps asking for reassurances. What else can I say?
Wednesday, October 10, 2018

World Almanac
Today is the 282nd day of 2018 and the 18th day of autumn.
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Married couple sleeps in separate rooms
My husband and I no longer sleep in the same room. It all started when the air conditioner broke in our bedroom. It was so hot that I couldn't sleep in there. Now I have been sleeping in the living room for several months -- and I like it. No snoring. No interruptions. Everything else is pretty much the same, except for where we lay our heads. Does it seem odd that I like being in the other room better? Do you think this is a sign of trouble in our marriage?
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Husband wants son to wait to learn to drive
It is time for my son to take driver's ed, and I am happy about it. We live in the suburbs. Once he masters driving, I won't have to take him everywhere. He is a responsible young man, and I know he will do his best to be a good driver. My husband, however, is skeptical about the whole thing. He thinks my son should wait until he is 18 to learn to drive. I think that's way too late, for two reasons. First, I'm tired of being his chauffeur. My husband rarely takes him anywhere. But also, he will be heading off to college at 18. I want him to become a good driver while we are still in his orbit. I think it's a mistake to wait that long. I don't want to argue with my husband. How can I get him to understand?
Monday, October 8, 2018

Father's personality changes after stroke
DEAR HARRIETTE: My father just suffered a stroke and is in a terrible state. He has started yelling and cursing at the doctors and nurses in the hospital. He has been incredibly rude and disrespectful in ways that are downright shocking to the family. He has said racist things to doctors from other countries. It's awful. He never behaved like this before.
Saturday, October 6, 2018

Co-worker gets everyone in open office sick
DEAR HARRIETTE: I work in an office with an open format. Mostly we work in cubicles. Recently, this has presented a problem. One of my co-workers was really sick, but he came to work anyway. I get that; we have a lot of work to do, and he didn't want to be a slacker.
Friday, October 5, 2018

Co-worker tries too hard to be friends
There's a woman at my job who has decided that she wants me to be her best friend. Whenever she has a free moment, she hovers by my desk. She tries to go to lunch with me when I go out. She's the first to sign up if co-workers want to go out for drinks -- if she hears that I am going. This woman is cramping my style. I like her fine, but she is acting like a stalker. How can I get her to give me some space?
Thursday, October 4, 2018

Teenage kids refuse to wear jackets
I have the hardest time trying to get my teenage daughter and son to wear a jacket when the weather turns cold. For some reason, these young people are averse to jackets and coats, even when it's really cool outside.

I know it is my responsibility to protect my children, but I honestly don't know what to do to get them to dress properly without getting into an argument in the morning.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Former boss feels bad for not attending weddings
One of my former employees got married a month ago. I was unable to attend because I had to work. Another is getting married in the fall, and once again I am not available for the bridal shower. The day conflicts with a previously scheduled trip for my daughter's school. I feel bad that I cannot be there for these young women who thought enough of me to invite me to participate in this important moment in their lives. How can I make it up to them? I want them to know how much I care about them and how happy I am for this next step in their lives.
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Busy parent needs to take time for self-care
I have way too much on my plate. I have a busy job. I have three kids and an injured husband. I volunteer at my church and at my kids' school. This is what my mother did when I was growing up, so I thought that I was following in her footsteps. Honestly, I don't know how she did it. I am exhausted, and I never seem to have time for myself -- whatever that means. I want to carve out even a little bit of "me" time, but I'm not sure how. Can you help?
Monday, October 1, 2018

Man disparages neighbor's body
Much to my horror, when one of my neighbors held the door for me the other day, he yelled to me to run. I was just coming from a serious workout at the gym and didn't feel like running, even though I was moving quickly. He added, "You need to run so you can lose that belly." I was shocked. Yes, I am overweight, which is why I have been going to the gym. But I don't even know this man's name! How dare he say that to me! I was so shocked that I didn't say anything; I just glared at him. But I wonder if I should follow up with a comment.
Saturday, September 29, 2018

Employee angry when passed over for better job
I feel terrible right now. I have been passed up yet again for a job I really wanted. The person who got it is an industry friend. I know I should be happy for her, but it's hard to feel that. I believe I was more qualified for the job. Obviously only one person could get it, but it should have been me. The company made a big announcement this week, and I am so upset about it. How can I quiet my negative feelings on this one? I know I should reach out to this woman and congratulate her, turn the page and look for something else. But right now, all I want to do is scream.
Friday, September 28, 2018

Friend with eating disorder has lost more weight
I saw her the other day after many months of talking only occasionally over the phone. She looks smaller than ever. She has gotten so frail. I am worried about her, but I'm not sure how I can be of help. Do I bring it up and ask her what's going on? Do I tell her that I can see that she has lost weight? Do I say nothing? I think I would be mad if my friends started asking me about my weight fluctuations.
Thursday, September 27, 2018

Berating boss makes work intolerable
I talked to my husband about it, and he told me I should walk away from the job. He says I shouldn't stay in a situation that is toxic. I reminded him of how tight our finances are. He said, "When one door closes, another door opens." I'm afraid to leave this job. I have another friend who didn't like his job and walked, and now he is struggling way worse. What should I do?
Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Teenage daughter apathetic about going to polls
I have been taking my daughter to vote with me since she was born. She is a teenager now, and getting closer to the age when she will be able to vote. The midterm elections are coming up, and I reminded her that we are going to be voting soon. She shrugged it off because it means she has to get up earlier than normal before going to school. These days it is always a fight to get her out of bed and to school on time. Still, I do not want to break our tradition. To me, it's even more important for her to go with me when I cast my ballot as she prepares to become a voter herself. How can I be sure that I can get her to comply?
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Woman's paycheck is smaller than male co-worker's
I know that we live in a country where women still make less than men, but I didn't think it would be this blatant. I am furious. Yes, I need this gig, but I can't act like I don't know this. How should I proceed?
Monday, September 24, 2018

Woman wants to call out friend on hypocrisy
DEAR HARRIETTE: My best friend, "Clare," has been dating her boyfriend for almost four years, and I honestly haven't seen her at all. Clare's boyfriend is very active and out there, and to put this mildly, she follows him around like a puppy. She spends all her time with him. My girlfriends and I never said anything to her because we were just happy that she was so happy with him.
Saturday, September 22, 2018

Work-from-home mom's behavior annoys baby sitter
DEAR HARRIETTE: Whenever I baby-sit for this family, the mom works from home. I understand that she can't cater to her children and work at the same time, but it makes me uncomfortable.
Friday, September 21, 2018

Mom's fiance shares more with siblings
My mother just got engaged. I am happy for her, and I like my mom's fiance. I feel nothing but happiness when it comes to the engagement. Last week, I found out that my mom's fiance told my siblings about the proposal a couple of weeks ago, before telling me. I wonder why he chose to tell them before me. I always considered us pretty close, but after finding this out, I can't help but think about the future of our relationship and if he will continue to keep things from me and not my siblings. Is this abnormal? Do you think I should speak up?
Thursday, September 20, 2018

Daughter heading to high school must be cautious
I am worried about my daughter. She is headed to high school -- a large school compared to the one she attended for the last eight years. She has largely been sheltered, even though we do talk about what goes on in the world and how she should take care of herself.
Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Nagging husband loses key fob
My husband and I just got a new car. Our previous car had no fancy computer abilities, so we are still getting used to this one. Our car starts without a key, though the key fob -- something I had never even heard of before -- has to be in the car. My husband has been adamant about both of us carrying our key fobs, even if only one of us is going to drive, because he says the fob identifies the driver. He has been pushy about us each having our fobs with us, and he reprimands me if I don't have mine.

Fast forward to this weekend: We went away for a few days, and he seems to have lost his key fob. He's upset about it, but I'm just glad it wasn't me. He would have been yelling at me and telling me how irresponsible I am. Instead he's just upset and looking for his key. I'm sorry he lost it, and I don't want to rub it in, but part of me wants to point out that he would be handling this differently if the roles were reversed. Do I let it go or say something?

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

After reflection, career striver has regrets
I had some time to myself this summer and was able to be quiet and assess my life. It was a great experience, but during my contemplation, I remembered some things that I did in my past that are disturbing. I'm talking about choices that I made that were rude or mean or short-sighted. In retrospect, I can't believe how selfish I was while trying to build my career. There have been a few occasions when the way I reacted to people I care about just didn't matter in the moment. I am ashamed about some of these moments, and I wonder what I should do. I know that most people have done bad things, but should I do something about it? Should I reach out to the people I think I was rude to and apologize for my behavior?
Monday, September 17, 2018

Employee desires more quiet in the office
DEAR HARRIETTE: I work in an office with a lot of young people who are pretty rambunctious and loud. I hate sounding like an old lady, but it is hard for me to get my work done because they are either gossiping with each other, looking at videos online or otherwise talking. I don't understand how they do it.
Saturday, September 15, 2018

Neighbor feels bad for ignoring Puerto Ricans' suffering
DEAR HARRIETTE: I live in New York City, where there are a lot of people from Puerto Rico. One of my neighbors has been complaining for months about how slowly the government has responded to the devastation of Hurricane Maria. I have to admit that I got tired of listening to her complaints after a while. So many other problems in life have come up, plus we were getting general notifications that aid was coming to the island.
Now it seems that the support has not been available as needed. And way more people died than was first thought. I feel horrible for my neighbor and her relatives who are stuck in Puerto Rico and who have few resources. I feel like I should apologize to her for not understanding. I also want to help even though I'm strapped for cash. Is there anything else I can do? -- Help for Puerto Rico, Bronx, New York

Friday, September 14, 2018

Dr Paul The Dentist
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