Tell Me About It

With Carolyn Hax
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 24, 2003; 12:00 PM

Carolyn takes your questions and comments about her current advice column and any other questions you might have about the strange train we call life. Her answers may appear online or in an upcoming column.

Appearing every Wednesday and Friday in The Washington Post Style section and in Sunday Source, Tell Me About It ? offers readers advice based on the experiences of someone who's been there -- really recently. Carolyn Hax is a 30-something repatriated New Englander with a liberal arts degree and a lot of opinions and that's about it, really, when you get right down to it. Oh, and the shoes. A lot of shoes.

The transcript follows.

Editor's Note: moderators retain editorial control over Live Online discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions.


Weddingville, USA:
Dear Carolyn,

My husband and I have seriously been on a wedding tour of the United States for the last three years (including our own). We have literally spent thousands of dollars on plane tickets and gifts. For one reason or another, all the weddings we've been to have been "unmissable" for a variety of reasons -- mostly because these are truly good friends, many of whom travelled far and wide for our wedding, which touched us immensely. However now -- with 3 weddings in 3 cities in 4 weekends looming -- it's starting to feel a little out of control.

One close friend is getting married early next year very far away, to a man I've never met, and I only know one other guest, -and- we will have just taken off a lot of work for the holidays (not to mention have a newish mortgage to pay). This seems a logical wedding to skip, but I'm not sure how to break it to her -- not that I'm the focal point of her wedding or anything, but I know how important it was for me for my own wedding to have good friends there. For the sake of all of us in this quandry -- and I know I'm not alone -- please advise!;

Carolyn Hax: I just did! A couple of weeks ago I think. I said it's okay to say no to invitations. You just have to weigh your interest in pleasing your friend against your interest in acting like a sane person. And you say you were really happy to have your friends at your wedding, but you also know, as a grizzled wedding veteran, that the absence of one regular guest does not make or break, especially when bride and groom are neatly padded by 150 others.


Alexandria, Va.: I have a problem with my boyfriend's dogs. They like to sleep in the bed with us, and it's really interrupting my sleep to the point that I can't function at work the next morning. The problem is that they always sneak into bed after we're asleep and then I get woken up about five times a night when one of them steps on me. My boyfriend has offered to set up a bed for me in another room with a lock so they can't disturb me. I think that is a nice gesture, but it doesn't solve the problem. I think he needs to ban his dogs from his room instead, but he won't do that. He gets offended when I suggest this. I like my boyfriend, but this issue is getting in the way of our relationship. I love dogs and I enjoy a good relationship with his dogs. I just don't want them in my bed. Do you have any suggestions for me as to how we can solve this?

Carolyn Hax: Dog beds on the floor, and a new, well-enforced (penny cans are great for this) rule that dogs aren't allowed on the bed. If BF won't so that for you, we have the proverbial Big Fat Sign on our hands.

This from a dog-lover, so for those about to inform me that the dogs were there first, save it. Human trumps beast. Thanks.


Definition of Spork: Carolyn,

Are you sure a spork is a spoon with notches? Maybe it's a fork with webbed tines.

Maybe it should be called a foon . . .

Carolyn Hax: Absolutely sure, since now I know a foon is a fork with webbed tines.


Self Confidential?: Are you cheating on us, Hax?!; Just teasing, good column, and it's always a pleasure to read more of you...

Carolyn Hax: Will advise for food. Which shows, unfortunately.


Bride-to-be: FI and I both started new jobs within the last year. FSIL's boyfriend starts a new job and FMIL is having a big dinner for him with all of his favorite foods. She did nothing like this for us when we started our new jobs. My FI is in denial. He says that he doesn't remember if his Mom asked him if he wanted a dinner and that maybe she did and he refused. I told him that was unlikely since his Mom does what she wants regardless of how anyone feels. (It would have certainly not been the first time she's had a dinner for someone who didn't want one.) I also assured him that there was no mention of a celebratory dinner to me when I started my new job. I think this is a huge slap in the face and FI thinks I'm overreacting. I've thought for a long time that FSIL was the favorite and FI's parents adored her boyfriend, but this confirms it for me. And I don't understand why my FI is defending them. What do you think Carolyn? Am I being too sensitive? WTS?

Carolyn Hax: Or, what the FI.

Meticulously keeping score of what people do and don't do for you you you (or by proxy through your loved ones) is an excellent way to be miserable, because you'll never feel you're getting what you think you deserve and therefore you'll notice every omission. And if you're going to get pissy over every little slight and/or injustice in the world, count on being pissy 24/7/364 for the rest of your natural life (reprieve is for the day before your birthday, when you let yourself get your hopes up).

Plus, your Fwhosie could throw your Fwhatsis a party for buying new shoes, and unless your Fwhatever cares, there's absolutely no reason you should.


Washington, D.C.: I have a friend that told me she's really depressed. She's been trying to contact pyschiatrists but they apparently aren't even returning phone calls. She doesn't seem willing to talk to me aside from telling me that she has a problem. Do you have an suggestions for who she could call in Virginia. Is there a crisis hotline? I'm worried and I wish I could do something to help. Just found this listing of Virginia suicide and crisis hotlines in a google search.

Carolyn Hax: Thanks, Liz. Neat perspective-by-proximity, too, must say.

Also, you can try the local offices of the various professional organizations that govern psychiatry (, psychology (, etc., to get a crisis number or an immediate referral for her.


Washington, D.C.: Carolyn -

I read your column this morning about Mr. Hook-Up and thought your take was more than one-sided. I will say up front that I'm a male.

Yes, the "boy" is an idiot, a pig, etc., but what about the "women" (if you can call them that) who hooked up with him? Aten't they as guilty of immaturity, lack of self control, blah blah blah?

There's no question that this guy's a lout, but these women he's dealing with should be smart enough to stay the hell away from him.

Carolyn Hax: Hm. I thought I'd taken fair shots at all, including to call the letter-writer immature.


New Column?: Was Self Confidential the name of a new column? I couldn't Google it - can you tell us about it?

Carolyn Hax: No, old column. I write for Self magazine, and have for years.


Re: Self Confidential: Are you still doing that column?

I haven't seen it in a few months and I have looked for it.

Carolyn Hax: It comes and goes based on the size of the book, but it's in about 8 x /year.


Springfield, Va.: What is a penny can?

Carolyn Hax: Empty soda or beer can, cleaned, with 10 pennies in it and tape over the opening. Shaking it once or twice makes a harmless racket that dogs can't stand, so it's good for "punishment" when they do stuff they're not supposed to, like jump on the bed. But you've got to train them to know what it means and be really consistent in enforcement, or else you're just being cruel. See your local dog trainer for details.


Fing Crazy: Too much!; Why do people go out of their way to be insulted by others? Throw your own party if you get a new job!; Plus, if you spend lots of time looking for ways you are being mistreated or shortchanged by others, you certainly will find them and be miserable!;

Carolyn Hax: Or, be happy--I've been nursing a theory for years that some people thrive on little outrages, because they provide regular opportunities to feel right/righteous by comparison. And so, when no outrage presents itself, you've got to go out and find one.


Anytown, Anywhere: Hi Carolyn,

Any advice you and the 'nuts have for me would be so much appreciated! Thanks.

I was molested by my stepfather when I was a pre-adolescent, and it continued for a few years. I had told my mother when it first occured, and when she did nothing, I didn't tell her anymore. Last year, I got the courage to confront both of them and most importantly, to tell my mom what had happened. I also told my biological father, who had been kept in the dark about it the whole time. This did wonders for my healing process, but I know (through therapy, and my stepfather's history of molesting others) that he is not cured and most likely never will be. Since then, I have not seen my stepfather, (at my dad's and my request), but my mom is still with him and continues to speak about him, to me. The only time I did see him was at my wedding, and I invited him because my mother said she would not come if he wasn't invited. Anyway, now I am pregnant. I do not want this man to ever see my child, let alone have some kind of relationshio with it. But how do I handle my relationship with my mother? I do want my child to have the experience of having her as a grandmother.

I feel like I am in between a rock and a hard place. I have a hard time talking with my mom to begin with... I just don't know what to say.

Carolyn Hax: I am so sorry you have to navigate this, especially when your brain space could be occupied right now with bigger, happier things.

So, insist on it. Insist on having this not occupy your mind, and set out your nonegotiable terms now. In your question, you mention twice that you've altered the way you handle this problem at the behest of others. You say your father's request is part of the reason you don't see your stepdad (though you needed no other reason but your own), and you frankly let your mother blackmail you into having your stepfather at your wedding.

Enough, enough. This is your life, your judgment, your child--a child you need to protect, hard feelings be damned. Tell your mom that you want nothing more than for her to have a close, loving relationship with your child--but that in good conscience you can't permit your stepfather to be around the child. Period. If your mother refuses your terms, do not relent. Your baby comes first, as you should have come first all these years with her. She owed you that when you told her first of the violation, and she blew it. She owed you that when you told her again last year, and she blew it. She owed you that at your wedding, and she blew it. She owes you now, and she blows it at HER peril this time. Yes, it might cost you your relationship with her, but you need to consider what kind of relationship that is if it continually costs you so much.

Last thing. This is upsetting stuff to take on, especially since you're probably hormonal and preoccupied as it is. If you're at all unsure that you're up to it, a good therapist could help talk you through it. Good luck.


New York, N.Y.: Hi Carolyn,
I am morphing into a snob before my very eyes, and I don't know how to stop the monster. Here's the deal: there are certain things I want out of life. I went to a good college, I come from a nice town, and I eventually want to move to similarly nice town, live in a nice home, send my kids to good schools, etc. I am a teacher. I know I will never make a whole ton of money, but I love my job. However, I have been taking my monetary worries out on my boyfriend -- who went to a less prestigious school. I sound like an idiot even typing this. I act like a snob around him: pressuring him to go to grad school for the extra degree, pressuring him to make more money, reiterating to him time and again how I want "the best of everything." And I do, and I don't think that's wrong. I just have no idea how to go about achieving material things without morphing into a materialistic jerk, which I think I have. Ideas? Help? Thanks. Online only if poss.

Carolyn Hax: Either go out and make more money your own darn self, or put a sock in it and grow up.


Human trumps beast?: Please don't perpetuate this horrible (and dead wrong) belief that humans are better than other animals. All life should be valued the same. (and don't give me the but "I'm a dog lover" bunk...)

Carolyn Hax: When your BF/GF makes you sleep curled up on a floor mat while his/her dog gets the bed, and you lick his hand with approval, I'll believe you really mean this.


Psychiatrist referral: One more suggestion to consider. Your friend may not feel that her depression is "severe" enough for a crisis hotline and may put off calling. She should ask her primary physician for a good referral. Her physician may be in a better position to know her history and recommend an appropriate doctor. Your friend is lucky to have you looking out for her!;

Carolyn Hax: Good point, thanks.


In the middle: At what point is one obligated to spend the holidays with their significant other? I am engaged, but my very traditional family's custom is to not have SO's over or go to an SO's house until after marriage. My fiance's family expects all SO's to start sharing holidays upon dating, and fiance has been very upset that he isn't invited my family's holidays and that my parents would have a meltdown if I were to go to his place. (I agree with my parents, actually- who wants to start all that holiday swapping pain before you absolutely have to, and fiance's family does virtually nothing for the holidays anyway!) Last year was a nightmare -- fiance and my mother used me as a pushmepullyou for four months straight, fighting over who got to have me, his family kept asking why I wasn't there, etc. My mother won the war, big surprise.

Told fiance afterwards that there was no way my family would be okay with me being with him until after we were married and for me it wasn't worth the pain of arguing for months to try to change their minds, and he said he'd leave it alone, but now that it's fall he's clearly starting up the battle for Round 2 again. He is convinced that if we just beg and plead enough, my parents will suddenly be fine and dandy with sharing before marriage. Right, and pigs will fly out of my a**.

I've started wondering, who's right in this situation? -Should- I be fighting to spend holidays with him now, or should he be the one to back off until it's official?

Carolyn Hax: Me forehead, how it aches.

You adult. You decide. I.e., you stop letting Mommy yank you around or you not ready for marriage. If you believe in the holiday segregation your family espouses, then espouse it. If you don't, then either spend the hols with your fiance's family or you two spend them alone together (or invite friends to join you, etc.).

You didn't ask me ... wait did you? ... not really ... damn ... but when people are so clearly committed as to be engaged, I think it's more than a little ridiculous for a family to insist they separate for holidays.

And your parenthetical doesn't persuade me. "Have to"? Like marriage chains you together legally so you HAVE to do things to please your mate, like spend time with his family? So not fair. If this is about not liking holidays with his fam, speak your mind, make your choice, stand behind it. In fact, I think I'll revise the thought that you're letting Mom push you around with the theory that you're actively hiding behind Momma's skirt becasue you'd rather spend T-day with her. Yes?


Carolyn Hax: Okay Hax. Breathe. Bad run of questions there.


Creeped Out, USA: Carolyn, I know you do this for a living and all, but when faces with people's overwhelming selfishness do you ever just want to chuck this advice column thing?

Mothers who don't want to protect their children, or grandchildren from pedophiles; people who'd rather give a cot to their significant other than get their dogs, dogs mind you, a bed? To-be-marrieds, obsessively ruining any chance they might have to have a good relationship with their in-laws. And this is just one chat. Nobody's perfect and I know I'm guilty of the me-first's sometimes to, but jeez!

How do you do this all the time?

P.S. You Rock.

Carolyn Hax: So it wasn't just me. Thanks.


Unsure: How young is too young to start a family?

Carolyn Hax: When parents are still growing up themselves. Not an age thing, necessarily, though I haven't met a whole lot of early twentysomethings who were all growed up. (Harshness mitigator: I look back and see I had a lo-ong way to go at 27.) Not that the process ever ends, but I'm talking about the point where you shake off childhood and are truly capable of consistent, selfless behavior.


Breathe....: ....and think pretty pink and blue thoughts. Is it a boohbah moment?

Carolyn Hax: Liz! Liz! Liz!


Just curious: Is the "all life should be equally valued" person a vegetarian?

(For the record, I am -- yippee for me -- but just couldn't let that sort of blanket statement get by without at least asking the obvious question.)

Carolyn Hax: Actually, wouldn't only vegan be consistent?


Lake Ridge, Va.: For NY Snob

Everybody wants the best in life for themselves. How you define that and your willingness to trade in leisure for hard work is up to the individual.

You seem to define "the best" as acquiring a bunch of bling bling. If that's you, out there for the world to see, than don't apologize. Make your decision and go with it. Teaching won't get you there. Neither will lashing out at a man who "isn't good enough" according to his ambition and paycheck.

You can't love someone and tell them they aren't good enough. And you can't love yourself when you don't know yourself. Find out what's really important. Having a roof over your head, making your monthly payments and having someone love you is nothing to be ashamed of. Why the need to bling?

Carolyn Hax: Nicely done, especially the restraint. Thanks.


Boston, Mass.: I'm in my own personal hell, Carolyn, and I hope you have some ideas. I have a horribly jealous sister and she's coming here to visit this weekend. I have a feeling her visit will only make things worse.

She seems to have in her head this idea that because she's the older one, her life is supposed to be better (without her working for it, I guess) and that she's supposed to reach certain milestones first. I am three years younger and was the first to buy a home, the first to go to grad school, I made it out of the midwest (she's still there), I have a successful boyfriend that my parents love far more than her fiance, and my BF has a MA and hers doesn't have a BA yet, which I don't care about but my parents are quick to point out. Anyway, my parents fuel her jealousy by constantly saying things like "why can't you be more like " and "she really has it together" and (about my boyfriend) "that's the first man that's walked through our door worthy of marrying one of our daughters."

Anyway, now my sister's coming to town, for the first time to see our house with parking space and backyard jacuzzi, etc., and I'm really afraid about how this will work. I love her dearly, but it's like my parents' expectations (and hers!) make me the bad guy in her eyes -- like I'm setting her up for failure in comparison. I just need some help on what to say (NOT "well, you could have a house like this too if you work hard enough") that will make everything better...

Carolyn Hax: The first thing that comes to mind is a massive, global apology to your sister. "You know, it seems like the family is just harder on you, and I don't know why, and it's not fair."

Of course that could just come off as pity and make things worse, but, cheez, your parents have done you both wrong by pitting you against each other, apparently for -years-, and my natural say-it bent has me thinking it would do your relationship good to get it out in the open. But if your gut says no, then trust it.

Your best option in that case is to be normal. "Hey, like my house?" Allow for the possibility that she might be happy for you. And, shake off the misconception that your hitting milestones earlier in any way makes you better. You took your road, she took hers, and yours could just as easily led to misery as hers could have to happiness. There are some really wretched people with jacuzzis in their yards (even in the current Boston real estate climate); their toes are just warmer.

Rule of thumb, anyone too hung up on a sense of merit needs to embrace the theory of luck, and anyone too hung up on luck needs to embrace the theory of merit. I don't think anyone successful has ever made it there without both.

Last thing: Please tell your parents to cut the s***. Whenever they uncork one of their lovely little comparisons, they need to be asked to stop.


Bling?: What the spork is "bling bling," and where did it come from? This doesn't answer the question, but at you can get an entire set of gold teeth.

Carolyn Hax: Which I didn't know I needed until This Very Moment.


Unsure: Okay, then how young is too young to be married?

Carolyn Hax: Ditto. Knowing (and liking, but not being head-over-heels in love with) yourself is the only way you can reliably choose a mate for that self. If your character and values and goals and opinions and etc. are still forming, you vastly increase your chances that you'll wake up one day feeling completely ill-suited for the person lying beside you.

Oh, and, bonus chuckler--if you're Absolutely Sure your character and etc. are set in stone, you don't know yourself worth a damn.


Columbia, Md.: Ok, my brain's frozed and I can't let it go... what does FI stand for?

Carolyn Hax: I think the consensus is "fiance."

Having typed that out, I now need to rest my fingers.


Atlanta, Ga: Bling Bling is now in the dictionary: 'Bling Bling' Added to Oxford English Dictionary

Carolyn Hax: Armageddon is upon us.


Washington, D.C.: Not sure if you, as a woman, will know the accurate answer to this, but I'll give it a try:

How "normal" is it for happily dating or happily married men with a "good" sex life to think/dream about having sex with other women (be they associates, former flames or random women in the elevator?)

I know that women fantasize too, but it seems from my discussions with friends that a high percentage of men do this quite often. It is happening to me and I feel so guilty about it - which of course begins to affect my relationship in other ways.

Carolyn Hax: As a woman, I can only guess, but I'd guess it varies between fairly often and a lot. Guys?

And for you--is this your only crushing guilt source, or is that kind of your way?


Washington, D.C.: An aside for Carolyn and the Wash Post editors re: today's column. It's "root cellar" not "fruit cellar." Fruit just rots. Roots on the other hand, like carrots and potatoes, keep very nicely.


Carolyn Hax: Aside to D.C.: Rent "Psycho."


Washington, D.C.: Hi! I dig these chats. I have a friend who appears to be having her very own Stepford version of my relationship with my fiance, and it is totally freaking me out. Basically, she recently started dating a guy who closely resembles my fiance in many respects -- same college major, same profession, same recreational interests. His background and his interests are not common ones in this town, so that's a bit unusual. But it gets weirder -- she's also been asking her boyfriend to teach her to do the EXACT same things that about a year ago, my fiance was teaching me to do. For example, he taught me English horseback riding, and a month ago my friend said she asked her boyfriend to take her out to a stable somewhere and teach her English riding; last year my fiance took me trout fishing; my friend recently asked her boyfriend to take her trout fishing. Am I a total a--hat for being weirded out by this? (I should note that there has been an unspoken, but obvious, competitive tinge to our friendship concerning men, at times. We're in our mid-30s, if that makes a difference).

Thanks and have a great weekend!

Carolyn Hax: If you have a pet bunny, I'd suggest keeping it under lock and key, but otherwise it sounds like mild amusement is the way to go at this one.


For the Fantasizing Guy Question...: We do fantasize about other women, but not necessarily when we are with you. You have to keep in mind that most guys are visual, and remembering past experiences does alot more for me personally than thinking about the girl in the elevator this morning...

But when I am with my GF, I'm not thinking about anyone but her (though she's probably naked in my thoughts)...

Carolyn Hax: I'm sure she'd have it no other way. tx.


Re: Men Have Fantasies ???: As a male with a Phd in probability, I can tell you men have fantasies all the time. I think it's perfectly normal. Trying to act out a fantasy is another story.

Carolyn Hax: Putting that degree to work. Thanks.


Washington, D.C.: Don't know why I feel compelled to write this, but I feel the need to comment on Boston sister who wrote that she "made it out" of the Midwest. She makes it sound as though she made it out of hell. Some may see it that way, but some of us don't. Some of us may see living in some place crowded and expensive as some place to "make it out of..." Just another perspective...

Carolyn Hax: ... from Washington, D.C.


Carolyn Hax: The Toledo of the east.


Sleeping with Dogs: The issue here is not about the value of a pet's life or about how much one loves a pet. It is about the value of a good night's sleep. Dogs do not have to get up and go to work the next day.

Carolyn Hax: And I resent them bitterly for it. Thanks.


Holiday swapping pain?: Geez. Must be a fun family to spend holidays with. But on a different holiday topic: candy corn, good or bad? I love chocolate but have to vote for the one-month-per-year sugar rush. A friend is trying to tell me its all about chocolate though...

Carolyn Hax: No, it's about ghosts made of white sheets, floating from front porches. Can't believe it took me this long to figure that out.


Hoo-Hasville: OK, long story short -- good frined of very long time has joined religious cult and has married someone from this cult. Her entire personality has changed -- and she's now hyper-critical and nasty. She lives on the other side of the country from me, so I don't really have to deal with it, but I am worried about her.

To make matters worse, she's decided to cut off all communication with me, and I have little idea why. I can guess that it has something to do with her new ideas about how life should be lived -- and I am not fitting in.

Carolyn, I am worried. We've been friends since high school (we're now both in our 30's) and while I am not sure the friendship can be saved--I am worried about her involvement in this cult. They are controlling her every move. I am not sure her parents are aware of how bad these people are, and I am afraid if I tell them now it'll just look like I am trying to get her back for not talking to me. Plus her mom is a little volitile, and who knows what her reaction might be. But I also feel like a bad friend not saying anything to anyone. She has a brother that I could contact to say that I am worried, but again... it's her family.

Any suggestions? Should I just let this go? By the way, since she cut of all communication, I have not even been able to tell her that I am scared for her.

Carolyn Hax: If you have printed, factual information on this cult, please send it to her family (parents and brother) and let them judge for themselves. This is too serious for them not to be informed because you're afraid how it'll come off.


Just Say No: Just got married last month and I can say we were semi-relieved when people declined. We're in our mid-thirties and have been to enough weddings to last us the rest of our lives. But we really hoped no one felt they needed to come to our wedding out of obligation. An honest "no" is better than saying "yes" to spare feelings.

Carolyn Hax: Yes, but you're sane.


speaking of Halloween . . .: What are you going to dress the twins up as?

Enquiring minds want to know!;!;

Carolyn Hax: Haven't decided, and taking suggestions.


Just Wondering: When it comes to choosing a career, do you think it's silly to give any weight to Meyers-Briggs personality tests? Have you taken one? If so, what type are you?

Carolyn Hax: Haven't taken one--I was curious when I read about them but was too cheap and/or lazy to follow through. Did the results make sense to you? I think any (legit) tool that has the potential to open your mind to new options is a good thing. Career ideas can get in ruts as deep as careers themselves.


Myers-Briggs: Actually, Myers-Briggs did the opposite, pigeon-holing people to a personality trait. Be very wary of using this as a tool. Don't let it tell you who you are.

Carolyn Hax: Thanks. Opposing view to come:


Myers-Briggs: From my perspective, was the most valuable thing ever. Helped me to understand why I like doing some things and not seemingly-closely-related other things.

Also great to know what "types" your colleagues are so you can understand what makes them tick and how best to work with them as a consequence.

Carolyn Hax: Thanks. And another:


Myers-Briggs: I totally believe in Myers-Briggs, not just for work stuff but for home stuff, too. I took the class and found out that for my type, anyway you can get the job done brings satisfaction. For my husband's type, though, the satisfaction is in the PROCESS of doing, not the end result. Which explained why he had a hard time leaving the PROCESS of taking out the trash to attend to our crying baby!; (We've since worked that out...) But it was really eye-opening.

Carolyn Hax: As long as it's accompanied by solid, creative suggestions for career paths, and by the usual due skepticism, it seems like it's worth a try. Thanks guys.


London, U.K.: Ok, so what the heck is "English riding"? We sit on our horses facing the direction we hope to go in. How do you guys do it?

Carolyn Hax: Well, that explains my frustrations.

English saddle, vs. Western. In case you were serious.


Inlaw complaints, not enough bling blings: After reading through some of the complaints today I was reminded of myself a few years ago. Always looking to get ticked off at family (actually before gatherings, working myself up with imaginary remarks that I was anticipating, but never said,etc.) Then a few years back a close friend was murdered (random act of violence). Through years of dealing with the grief, when nothing made any sense I concentrated on the simple joys of life. I have come through a much saner, compassionate, and empathetic person. Also, I am really happy for the first time in my entire life. I have no way of knowing about the people writing in, if they have ever had to deal with real tragedy in their lives and wonder (very guiltily--is that a word?) if my friend was not murdered, would I still be stuck in the same place?

Carolyn Hax: If senseless acts of violence brought out such humility and good sense in everyone, there would no longer be senseless acts of violence. Don't you dare feel guilty for having the courage and sensitivity to allow your loss to change you.


Won't you please, please, please: Help me put perspective on my boring boyfriend?

Carolyn Hax: Has it occurred to you that you don't need it?


Candy Corn: I wonder if they sell candy corn teeth on

Carolyn Hax: If they don't, they should.

Time to go. Thanks for checking in, and for the great costume ideas. Now I just need a week off and 2 or 3 acres of felt.


Hollywood, CA: "English" riders bear to the left side of the horsepath.
Mr. Ed

Carolyn Hax: *stomp * stomp *


Herndon, VA: Re: Stepford Friend.

Tell her you've taken up some new "interesting" learning to play the tuba or bagpipes, or collecting airline napkins or something. Then stand back, watch, and enjoy.

Carolyn Hax: It kills me that I didn't think of this.


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