Ask Amy: Big sister worries about pregnant sis

April 28, 2012

DEAR AMY: I know my sister’s life is none of my business, but I’m her big sister. I always feel she needs my help.

Now, she’s pregnant (not planned), still enrolled in college and working, but her boyfriend is unemployed and just seems to be living with her, using her money. I try not to be negative about him because he is staying around for her and their baby, yet he doesn’t seem to be trying to look for work. Plus, I believe he’s about to go to jail!

I know my sister loves him, but I want her to have someone who will be able to help her and her child. I know I can’t tell her what to do, but I feel she needs to not support her baby’s father when she can barely support herself.

She isn’t too good with her spending, and with a new expensive gift on the way, she needs to learn a little better. -- Worried Sis

DEAR SIS: I can understand why you are worried. You should support your sister’s positive choices (school, work) and gently guide her toward building a responsible and stable life. Her efforts will mainly be uphill for a while, but she can do it.

You cannot control her choice to be in this relationship. You can only promise to always be there for her and her family — not to bail her out but to be available to listen and advise her when she comes to you for help.

Practically, sitting down with her to develop a master plan (along with a very realistic list of her expenses and income) should help.

DEAR AMY: My husband and I moved into a new home a few months ago and decided to host a neighborhood get-together for the purpose of getting acquainted with our new neighbors.

We had already been to the homes of three new neighbors for casual cocktail parties, and we wanted to reciprocate. This was strictly a neighborhood thing — my son was not invited; my husband’s grown daughters were not invited.

In a routine phone conversation with my sister, I mentioned what we were planning. I thought nothing of it.

The following week she called me to say that she was extremely hurt that I did not invite her to this party. I was taken aback. I told her this was a neighborhood thing (she lives 50 miles away).

She made a big deal out of this, as if I excluded her intentionally. She is still miffed about this, and frankly I have little sympathy. Your thoughts? -- It’s My Party

DEAR PARTY: I also have little sympathy for your sister. She tried to get in on your good time, you respectfully refused and explained yourself and she has expressed her disappointment.

You handled this well, and now it’s time to move on. I raise my glass to you.

DEAR AMY: Please help my friendship with a two-time Bridezilla survive the next year.

My 40-year-old friend “Lacey” was married and divorced in her 20s, and she’s now engaged. Her first wedding was a lavish affair, and the second will be no different.

I’ve been asked to be a bridesmaid again, complete with bridesmaid dresses, showers (two are in the works) and a bachelorette party. Lacey has already expressed dismay — along with tears — because no one threw them an engagement party.

A friend who “wants to stay sane” said no to being a bridesmaid for financial reasons, but Lacey has been critical of any spending by this friend since then.

Can I decline and give an honest reason?

Can I be a bridesmaid and state that I can’t give it my all a second time? Should I quickly enter the Peace Corps and hide out for the next year? -- Frightened Bridesmaid

DEAR FRIGHTENED: If you agree to be a bridesmaid, you should also agree to all of the shenanigans that go along with this dubious honor. You really shouldn’t enter this exalted state on a conditional basis.

Of course you can decline and be honest about it, and you can also anticipate your friend’s punitive reaction — in which case the Peace Corps sounds like a viable option.

Write to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

2012 by the Chicago Tribune

Distributed by Tribune Media Services

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