December 7, 2023

Forty-five years in the past, my husband and I began going to a lakeside camp for every week each summer time. Our children grew up there. Years in the past, when our son acquired his first grownup job, we paid for him to hitch us. He wasn’t incomes a lot, and we have been afraid he wouldn’t come if we didn’t pay. Now, he’s pushing 40, married and has two youngsters. And we’re nonetheless paying. (He can simply afford it, as can we.) Cash is just not the full challenge: He exhibits little appreciation for our reward. The one remark we acquired this yr was a “Thanks once more” textual content three days after the holiday. This was odd since he by no means thanked us to start with. And at any time when I attempt to spend (a bit) time with him on the lake, he blows me off or snaps at me. Ought to we lower him off and cease paying?


You might have completely no obligation to pay for middle-aged kids to go on trip with you. However my hunch right here — although I could also be incorrect — is that you’re specializing in cash as a result of it’s simpler to cope with than the true challenge: your damage emotions at your son’s habits. (I’d be smarting, too!) It will be higher on your relationship, although, to inform him what you really need — a bit gratitude and an occasional iced-coffee date — than to deal with the price of the journey, which looks as if a pretext.

Now, I do know it may be exhausting to make ourselves weak to different folks. And it’s attainable that your son, even after listening to you out, won’t change his habits. In that case, chopping him off appears applicable. However I feel it’s simply as probably {that a} man who has gone on the identical trip along with his dad and mom his whole life, all the time at their expense, could merely be taking your generosity as a right. I hope he course corrects rapidly if you level this out to him.

If I have been you, I’d ask a few handy time to satisfy or to speak on the cellphone with him. Attempt to make your factors neutrally. By avoiding anger or misery, you’ll make it simpler for him to acknowledge his dangerous habits and keep away from turning into defensive about it. Fingers crossed for subsequent summer time on the lake!

My spouse and I downsized our dwelling quarters not too long ago. About 25 years in the past, we purchased a big drawing that was made by an artist good friend of mine from faculty, and we hung it in our house. We now not need to hold the drawing, though now we have enough wall area in our new house. Ought to we return it to my artist good friend or keep away from the topic and easily discard it?


I’m confused: Did you point out that you’ve got “enough wall area” for the drawing in your new house since you suppose honesty prevents you from telling the artist you can’t hold it, or as a result of some a part of you desires to inform your previous good friend that you simply don’t just like the piece?

I’d merely inform the artist that you simply now not have a spot for the work and provide to return it for his or her archives — or give it to a different collector who may take pleasure in it. Attempt to make the dustbin your final possibility for wonderful artwork.

Each night, our next-door neighbor does an train routine on his patio that includes loud, rhythmic grunting that might simply be mistaken for a pornographic soundtrack. We hear it by way of our closed doorways and home windows. It’s startling and upsetting. I’ve thought of asking him to be aware of the noise, however he’s standoffish. Do I’ve the appropriate to say one thing? Our children are definitely not quiet on a regular basis. However I’m bored with this.


Happily, making affordable requests of neighbors doesn’t require good blamelessness on our half or friendliness on theirs. After your neighbor finishes his subsequent porno exercise, go subsequent door and ask him politely to tone down the grunting. He could not love you for it, and he could use the chance to level out the imperfections in your family, however that is all in the best way of neighborly negotiations. Simply be nice about it.

Pals from out of city contacted us to say they’d prefer to make a daylong go to. We mentioned that sounded nice. I advised lunch in a close-by seaside city. I warned them that the eating places may be expensive, so I mentioned we might additionally seize one thing cheaper and wander the boardwalk. They mentioned the restaurant sounded good. After lunch, although, when the invoice got here, they didn’t provide to pay their share. I mumbled one thing about splitting the invoice after which I paid. I feel sticking us with the invoice was impolite. Your ideas?


You mumbled? When I’ve no intention of paying for my pals’ meals, I say “We could cut up it?” — as clear as a bell, the second the waiter locations the verify on the desk. It by no means fails. It additionally saves the tedium of grousing about pals due to misunderstandings over lunch payments. Strive it!

For assist together with your awkward state of affairs, ship a query to, Philip Galanes on Facebook or @SocialQPhilip on the platform X.

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