DEAR AMY: I live in an apartment close to my college. A girl I go to school with who lives far away asked if she could stay at my house one day a week for a few hours before classes. I happily agreed.
I knew beforehand that she has physical, social and emotional issues, but it has gone too far. She expects breakfast and lunch, which is fine with me, but she shows displeasure when she doesn’t like the food choices. She just opens up the fridge, freezer and cabinets and tells me what she wants.
I usually give her “easy” food like cereal and sandwiches, but one time she just opened up the fridge and asked me to make her sauteed vegetables! (She doesn’t know how to cook, so I can’t ask her to.) She expects so much and doesn’t seem grateful — she doesn’t even put away her dishes when she finishes!
What do I do? She doesn’t realize that she’s asking too much of me. I don’t want to kick her out. Where do I draw the line? -- Feeling Used
DEAR USED: Your classmate’s social issues may include a true inability to read social (and friendship) situations that are second nature to most people. You can choose to cut this off entirely. But if you want to continue, you may have to teach her some basic skills.
Tell her, “I like having you here, but we’re going to have to change our arrangement so it will work better.” Ask her to bring some groceries (or go grocery shopping together). Tell her she needs to ask you before she goes into the fridge or cupboards. And if she wants to eat a specific dish, tell her that if she brings the ingredients you’ll show her how to make it for both of you.
Don’t expect her to be able to read your body language or tone of voice. Ask her simply, “Please take your dishes to the sink and I’ll show you how to wash them.” Navigating this with you could be a huge part of her education, and I give you a ton of credit for being willing to try.
DEAR AMY: My niece (the first of the next generation to marry) has decided to have a very small wedding and is not inviting any aunts, uncles or extended family.
She made a huge deal out of her engagement on Facebook, including posting a video of the proposal. She announced that anything she receives addressed to “Mrs.” will be returned to the sender — she never wants to be referred to as “Mrs.” She then makes a point of having a private, exclusive wedding.
My sister (her mother) is calling this a “planned elopement.” I call it a wedding to which virtually no one is invited.
My sister is planning a reception for the couple, but I am a little hurt about not being invited to the wedding. I am also upset that the bride’s 92-year-old grandmother is also not invited to the wedding.
I will go to the reception to support my sister, but I am not inclined to give the couple a gift. My husband feels insulted and doesn’t want to go. What is the protocol on gift-giving and attendance to a wedding reception like this? -- Turned Off
DEAR TURNED OFF: If this is a wedding-related celebration that you are determined to attend, then it is appropriate to bring a gift. Your niece sounds like a pill; if you are disappointed in her, then you should express this to her (not her mother).
DEAR AMY: “Caring Nana” wrote about her adult children complaining about their spouses and arguing with each other publicly. I used to do this all the time.
One time at a family gathering, I was complaining about my spouse and my aunt piped up and said, “If you want to talk bad about him, divorce him; otherwise, shut up. I’m sick of hearing it.” Sure made me stop and think! -- Lesson Learned
DEAR LL: Your aunt sure didn’t sugarcoat things. But she got the job done.