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Carolyn Hax
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 16, 2005; 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.

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Christmas Party Host: Carolyn,OK, petty question here. My husband and I have hosted an annual Christmas party for several years and I have always wondered how to reply to "What would you like me to bring?" The truth is that we really don't need anything. We have some friends with allergies that we are aware of and prepare some special dishes and steer them clear of others. People seem to get offended when I reply to their offer saying they can bring a bottle of wine or some beer. They really want to prepare a dish. Should I ask them to prepare something without wheat or nuts or accept whatever they bring and put it in the possible allergen section of the table?

Carolyn Hax: People really will find any excuse to get offended, won't they.

Be more clear when you say no thanks to their bringing a dish. "Our menu is set, thank you. We're always grateful for wine or beer though." You gave one good reason for not wanting outside dishes, but there's another--sometimes a hosts like to coordinate what they make and don't really want stuffed shells at their Mexican dinner.

And, memo to people who insist on preparing something: I'm sure you mean well, but, stop. Please. Thank you.

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Midwest: Hi, Carolyn -- My husband has clinical depression, is on meds which have worked really well (from this end of things, at least) and just started therapy this week. He seemed a little off and I asked him about it and he said that the therapy just wears him out, emotionally. (There's a lot of baggage in his background - abuse, etc. I don't know if they got to that or not in their first session.) He said he's felt really depressed since the therapy session. These sessions are two hours long because he has to drive so far, they opted for two hours session every other week instead of one hour weekly.

First question, is this feeling of his normal? Does it continue? Is this why so many people opt for just meds and not therapy?

Second, should I avoid asking about the therapy sessions, like, "What did you talk about?" I'm guessing I should, I just need you to tell me that.

I asked you a few months ago about his depression and you gave me some info about how to find a therapist. Thanks.

Carolyn Hax: You're welcome. I'm glad to hear he's in treatment.

I'm also sorry to hear it's been a tough week for him, but not surprised. There's a reason therapists have Kleenex on the coffee table. If the stuff you talk about with a therapist were easy to face, you wouldn't be paying someone to help you face it. And emotions are exhausting, mentally and physically.

That said, anyone close to someone who's clinically depressed needs to keep an eye out for trouble more serious than weeping fatigue. You should read up on the warning signs that depressed people can give off (same Web site as Wednesday's, www.nimh.nih.gov), and have his therapist's number handy in case you're ever worried.

Last thing, about what to say after a session. Don't ask what they talked about. Say you're glad to see him. If it feels appropriate, say you'll be happy to talk if he'd like to. Follow his lead without hovering.

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Re: "Disappointed" by dry reception : Carolyn, a couple of weeks back you made the statement that if you were invited to the wedding reception of a friend, you would be "disappointed" to find that the reception was dry (i.e., no alcohol served).

That, and your follow-up comments about the statement, made me wonder: how would you feel about attending a social event that was "dry" because the host/hostess was a recovering alcoholic? Would you shun a social event given by someone who belonged to a religion that didn't believe in serving alcholic drinks? Would you be disappointed to attend a social event where for safety/legal reasons alcohol couldn't be served (example: a party where attendees included medical personnel or commercial pilots who had to abstain because they were on call, or a corporate function where alcohol couldn't be served because it was on company premises)?

I just wondered. 'Tis the season for Yule cheer and all that, but many people have very valid reasons for not including alcoholic beverages in their entertainments, and that doesn't make them any less fun to be around or the functions any less merry if the people really like each other and enjoy each other's company. From your comments, I have to conclude that you would probably choose not to include alcohol abstainers in your close circle of friends. If this is true, it seems to me to be very close-minded. Perhaps you could expand on your comments? Thanks!

Carolyn Hax: Wow. Wow wow wow.

Had I said, "If there were no cake, I'd be disappointed," would I be getting thinly veiled lectures on sugar?

I plenty of friends who don't drink or serve alcohol, for various reasons, but I cringe even at typing that because I wouldn't bother explaining myself to someone who gave me a thinly veiled lecture about sugar.

I wrote a piece about a hundred years ago, pre-column, about Americans' alcohol hangup. We can make it, sell it, advertise it to death, collect it in our climate-controlled basements, tout its health benefits (in moderation, yes, I know!!!), produce experts in it, entice aficionados and big spenders to our restaurants with it, but heaven forbid we actually drink it and, eek, call the thought police if we say out loud that we enjoy it.

I'd rather have a glass of wine with my food than water.

If you'd rather have water, or ginger ale, or Gatorade, I'm happy for you.

No wait--I don't care enough to be happy. So you have ginger ale. Big deal. And if you invite me to your dry-ginger-ale-only wedding, I will go and wish you the best and wish without complaint that my toasting glass contained champagne.

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Snowy Midwest city: Hi Carolyn,

What is the best way to reply to snotty insinuations about my job? I'm constantly getting remarks that my job is not a "real job" because I'm a freelance artist and designer and work from home. I don't make nearly as much money as these people do, but I often work well over a 40-hour work week, plus nights and weekends when I have to. What must I do, short of showing these people my timesheets, to illustrate that I am just as hard-working and committed as they are?

Carolyn Hax: I could trot out a bunch of tactics--humor! frankness about your hurt feelings! a reminder that home based businesses and telecommuting are hardly revolutionary! But, frankly, people who think it's okay to judge you like this are beyond educating. Shrug them off and write them off.

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Albany, N.Y.: For the woman whose husband is suffering from clinical depression: I've been down that road. It's hard but well worth it. I didn't learn a single thing in therapy that I didn't know. What I did learn was how these things all fit together, and what the patterns and causes are. Then everything made sense, and I was able to work on the causes and not the symptoms.

Hard as it is to deal with, it's harder to not deal with it. It's just that the hardship of dealing with it is more concentrated, at least at first.

Shakespeare wrote, "from deep within our secret soul do demons dwell and take their toll."

Carolyn Hax: Nicely said. You more than the Shakespeare--though if he were still with us, I'm sure students hundreds of years from now would be studying what he did and didn't get out of his therapy. Thanks.

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Freakin' out!: Please answer!! I'm going to a party tonight and my recent ex will be there with the woman he dumped me for. I had planned to go alone, and just try to rise above it, but one of my male (and very cute, I might add -- he's watching me type this) co-workers has offered to come as my "date".

Good idea? Bad idea?

Carolyn Hax: Bad idea: Bringing a crutch and lying about his being your date.

Good idea: Either going solo or bringing someone whose company you'd enjoy.

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Boston, Mass.: Hi Carolyn,How can you tell if someone's not ready to be physical or if they're just not interested? I've been spending time with someone I really like, and she's said that she's attracted to me, too. But... all of those little physical things: reaching out to hold hands, etc., seem to come from me. I'm a little concerned that the spark is all on my end.

Carolyn Hax: Oh boy there can be a million things going on. She can be shy, she can be less attracted to you than you are to her, she can be a strict guys-make-the-first-move-ite, she can be a not-terribly physical person, she can be slow to trust--for a whole new set of a million reasons. Some of it you can ask about, some of it you can pick up from conversation (say, if she talks about her family life), some of it you can piece together from what you already know, since you probably already know more than you think, and some of it you'll just have to give time and let unfold.

Helpful, aren't I.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi Carolyn,

Help! My friend has morphed into her boyfriend. Is there any hope?

Last week she was wearing his clothes. This week she invited him to what was supposed to be a celebratory dinner for the two of us (her idea, BTW). Then, when he didn't return her calls, she called while we were waiting for the dessert menu to check up on him.

They've been dating since September and are moving in together at the end of this month.

She's normally an intellectual, independent, and original woman. We're all professionals in our mid-20s. What happened???

Carolyn Hax: Not sure I'd call for a padded truck over the clothes, but the dinner invitation and dessert calls are understandably alarming.

"Everything okay? I'm worried you're losing yourself to this relationship. I'm worried I'M losing you to this relationship."

She won't listen because someone who calls her soon-to-be-live-in boyfriend of three months during dessert is not going to listen. But you will feel better for having expressed your concern.

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Rockville, Md.: Just checking on when the reindeer poop session will be. Don't want to miss it (or the death chair).

washingtonpost.com: Last week .

Carolyn Hax: I'm sorry. If you have something you would have liked to add, send it along and maybe we'll let things unravel again at the end of today's session.

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Freakin out: So really, what's wrong with crutches? I mean, the metaphore comes from something that offers support. So if you do something one time -- like take a "date" to a party, is that a sign of emotional deficiency? If you take the date to fend of pity, and save face on a single occasion, why is that bad?

Carolyn Hax: To bring someone to save face is to concede that you lose face if you don't have somebody. That's why it's bad.

But having someone there whose company you enjoy, like I said, is a happy thing. The choice isn't between alone/strong or accompanied/weak, it's between want and need, companion or crutch.

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Arlington, Va.: Carolyn I, not being from this country, have noticed Americans very odd attitude to alcohol. My parents let me drink, if I wanted from age 16. But I preferred sugary and sweet drinks at that age. Still, decades later, I drink occasionally, but not much. However, I think that alcohol does add enjoyment to an celebration. And that people have a right to be disappointed if it isn't served. But I noticed last time you visited this issue there were a lot of comments related to acoholism when people expressed preference to a non-dry celebration. Me and my non-U.S. friends assume that it comes from puritanical beginnings of this country. But it does puzzle us. Why is the leap made by so many, every time, from enjoying a glass of wine at a birthday celebration, to being a full fledged alcoholic? There is a middle ground, a huge and vast one.

Carolyn Hax: I know, and I'm as mystified as you are why people are so quick to cry alcoholism. Maybe it is the puritanical beginnings, but that would be a giggle when you consider that the direct descendents of said puritans are responsible, I believe, for 97 percent of U.S. gin consumption.

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Re: Freaking out: I took a fake date to a wedding once. We had our fifth wedding anniversary in September!

Carolyn Hax: If it had been your wedding, that would be an even better story.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi Carolyn,

I guess I'm a bit confused about why you would ignore an important question I submitted last week (about my mother's inability to get help when on the verge of being suicidal) for fluffy stuff like "should I ask a hot guy I work with to a party where my ex is going to be." I recognize there are time limitations and such but... I'm really hurting over this and need some good guidance. Thanks very much.

Carolyn Hax: I never saw your question. This forum is and has always been one of variety and range, so even if I had seen it, there would still be fluffy stuff either before it, after it or in lieu of it. (There are many serious questions that I have no business touching, since my qualifications for this are nil.)

It is also a forum of more questions than I can read in the allotted time, much less answer.

If you'd still like to get help with your question, I'd recommend contacting the local chapter of the American Psychiatric Association to see if someone there could either advise you on the spot or refer you to someone who can. http://www.psych.org/

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Gin and puritans?: "...the direct descendents of said puritans are responsible, I believe, for 97 percent of U.S. gin consumption."

Huh?

Maybe it's because I haven't had a drink this morning, but this comment seems to me to need expanding on. Can you explain, please?

Carolyn Hax: It's a joke about WASPs, gin and tonic, yachting's Holy Trinity.

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Baltimore, Md.: Hi Carolyn,

Happy Holidays. I thought the photograph of your children, from last week, was just beautiful. Just wanted to get that out.

I'll try to be quick: I'm finding myself the victim of one of my own relationship "absolutes." I've always believed, counseled others, and lived by the principal that if you're in a relationship with someone and you can't honestly bring up an issue that you're having, then you're not in much of a relationship.

But I can't seem to bring up the "drop off" in our sex life with my boyfriend. And this is, without question, the best relationship of my life, thus far. Our level of intimacy is growing, we still have a fantastic time together, never argue, laugh all the time, etc. But in the last month this very important part of our relationship has been seriously lacking. To be fair, he's under a great deal of job related stress right now and I'm just getting my professional life back in order after a sudden lay-off. I know these things are a serious mitigating factors. I also know that I can't allow this to go unaddressed.

But everytime I start to say something, I clam up. I become irrational: I wonder if my drive is normal, I'm scared that this will drive him away, I don't want to start a fight, I don't want him to think that my primary interest is physical, I don't want to be called "over-sexed." (Something to which a former lover once alluded.)

Do I have to adhere to my own ultimatum? Do I not have much of a relationship? And how do I broach the subject? There never seems to be a "right," moment. Or do I just wait for this to work itself out?

Thanks

Carolyn Hax: Thank you, re the picture.

Maybe you need to add another absolute to your quiver--that you shouldn't say something until you know what you're trying to say, whether you should say it, and what you hope to accomplish. Obviously, we all know what you're hoping to accomplish, winkwink. But it doesn't sound like you have any idea yet if words would be necessary or appropriate even if you knew which ones to say and when to say them, which you don't. If this thing does resolve itself, a month will be a blip. You don't want to react at every blip.

You certainly don't want to make someone you care about feel worse when he's already having a difficult time. That's not a communication problem, that's kindness.

That said, if you decide to wait it out and find your blip has doubled or tripled into a bummer, and you still can't say anything, then you need to ask yourself if you're as comofrtable as you'd like to be with this person. But then the answer is, just SAY something, and see what happens. ("I miss you" is nice.) The way to get comfortable is often to plunge into an issue and find that everything's still okay. (And the way to get out of a bad situation, unfortunately, is often to plunge in and find out everything isn't okay.)

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Out Here: Hi Carolyn,

For the first time, I understood all those stories of people who meet the love of their life and "just know" that this is The One. It happened to me, and it was wonderful - while it lasted. It was so easy, I was so sure, and it didn't last.

Here is my question for you: how do you regain trust in your judgement? (Not of him, per se, but of one's own instincts and choices.)

I'd appreciate some good counsel on this one.

Carolyn Hax: So would I, but I'm all alone here.

I don't buy the "you just know." It's like love at first sight. Yes, it exists, but you can't be sure it exists until the person who made you think, "He's The One!!!" or "This is love at first sight!!!!" is still around, loving you and being lovable, a few years later. It's all hindsight.

For situations like yours, there's "What the ???," which you hope eventually gives way to, "It was wonderful while it lasted."

In other words, maybe your judgment was fine but your luck was for ----.

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Carolyn Hax: Sorry guys. I'm here, but I'm reading questions and nothing has leapt out yet.

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Formerly East Coast, now in Arizona: Carolyn,

Is it right to e-mail someone from the past with mixed motives?

We lost touch five years ago and I take responsibility for that. (I wasn't ready for what he wanted, we each took new assignments which geographically separated us, and I let the communications slowly fade away).

Now, I find myself thinking about him. I want to send holiday greetings and I sincerely hope he is happy and doing well -- but I would be kidding myself if I didn't acknowledge some part of me misses what we had and...I -- don't know how to even phrase it -- wants him to still want me...

I think I know what you're going to say...but could you just say it anyway?

Thank you.

Carolyn Hax: "Hi. I regret losing touch with you." It's not that hard. It's also honest without spilling everything.

The hard part is finding out he's now married or something, but you'd have to be prepared for that no matter what you said in the email.

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Rebounding: I'm about to go on a second date with a guy Im not attracted to and don't really find that interesting. But he seems safe and unlikely to hurt me. I got dumped badly several months ago and have barely dated since then.

Is it wrong to knowingly date a guy you aren't very interested in for the sake of rebounding? At this point, I don't think he could possibly be very interested in me but I worry very much about doing to him what my ex did to me...which was using me for a rebound girl while I unknowingly fell in love with him. I want to date and I don't mind the idea of dating this new guy but I don't feel ready to be emotionally involved with anyone. And I'm not sure about physically. Do you think I run the risk of hurting him, if I continue to see him? And if I don't date him, how do I get back to dating again?

Carolyn Hax: You're already hurting him because you're using him. You don't find him interesting, you're just afraid to date someone who is. No fair. Were you planning to let him pay?

Two far kinder choices are not dating at all until you feel you're ready (ding!ding!ding!ding!), or continuing to date new people but agreeing to a second date only when you enjoy the first one.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi Carolyn,I wrote last week about a girl I've been recently dating who refuses to acknowledge homeless people and panhandlers. I followed your advice and just asked her straight up. Turns out she was assaulted by a person on the street a few years back. It also turns out that for the last few years she heads up a fund drive at her church for the homeless. Our last date involved activities for this fund drive. Needless to say I like this person more and more and more...

Carolyn Hax: I'm always happy to hear of happy ending, thanks.

Which is why it's probably wrong to point out that I hear a midly icky undertone of approval this post.

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On Midwest's husband in therapy: Another thing to say to your husband after therapy might be: "I know it must be hard. Thank you for going!"

After all, his doing this hard work is going to help your marriage and family be healthier and happier.

Carolyn Hax: Great great, thank you.

Though she might want to tweak it to, "I can only imagine how hard this is," since people who are already worked up can get very worked up at statements that start with "I know ... ."

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I don't understand: You said: "Which is why it's probably wrong to point out that I hear a midly icky undertone of approval this post."

Please 'splain, Lucy.

Carolyn Hax: It seemed not like, "I understood her explanation," but, "I approved of her explanation."

Does that help?

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How you know you've met "the One": Carolyn, the woman who's wondering how to regain trust in her judgement maybe needs to accept that she needed (and got) just the thing that will give her a healthy dose of "Oh, yeah?" skepticism.

Good judgement includes accepting that none of us is perfect and we all make bad judgements sometimes. That's what keeps us from just handing over $20 to the stranger who accosts us in a parking lot with a sob story, or giving out our SSN to the guy on the phone who says he's from the bank and needs to verify our information, or accompanying the seemingly-nice guy we don't know very well who wants to walk us out to our car in the dark and lonely parking garage late one night.

We learn from errors in judgement to allow ourselves to require someone prove they're worthy of our trust before we hand it to them on a silver platter. "Out Here" just learned that maybe her judgement isn't as good as she thought it was and that she needs to allow more time for boyfriends to earn her trust before she declares them "the one." Sounds like she got off with an easy lesson to me.

Carolyn Hax: Thanks! You just gave me a 30 second vacation.

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Re: Street People: So, is the icky undertone that he only approves of her refusing to acknowledge the street people because she was assaulted? Couldn't she just refuse because she was uncomfortable or because she wanted to give a different way. Seemed like the assault made it all OK in his mind but that it wouldn't be otherwise.

Carolyn Hax: I hadn't thought it that far through, but, yes, that's one way to put it. I was thinking that he was looking for her to prove she was as good a person as he was, and that she not only passed his test but exceeded his expectations.

Which of course is only about one click away from what everyone does (or should do) when getting to know a potential mate: check to see if s/he's as good a person as you hope. It's the good vs as-good-as, and the hope vs expectation, that can trip the alarm.

My alarm could be wrong, certainly. But it did go off.

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Re: Earning Trust: But if you're always cautiously guarding your heart, how can you gain the trust of others. If you hold back your trust in others they likewise will be skeptical of your intentions.

Carolyn Hax: I didn't read it as that extreme--not as a "You can't have it until you prove you deserve it" thing, but more of a "This is promising but we'll wait and see where it goes before I hand over my house key" thing.

Today's late-emerging theme: fine distinctions.

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Re: Photo everyone keeps talking about: Where is this photo everyone keeps talking about from last week (I believe Carolyn and her boys!!) I was out of town and missed it and can't seem to find it.

washingtonpost.com: The Kiddos

Carolyn Hax: Just her boys. The one with Carolyn in it was too ... painful. I don't want to talk about it.

Eek, it's 2:11, and no makeup silliness for the people who missed last week. Let's see what's out there. Sing amongst yourselves for a minute.

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the farm: Carolyn, I'm pretty sure I just made a big a-- out of myself with the dude I like. But this is good, right? I mean I want someone I can be my spastic self around, right?

Carolyn Hax: Yes.

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Sorry to re-submit Scary Santa : Sorry if I'm being a pest, but I thought this would lighten up the chat:

I got a promotional 2 foot Santa doll from Coca Cola one year, and my mom and I took turns scaring each other with it. He had a manic look about him and was SCARY. Clown-scary. Anyway, she would put it in the bathroom holding my toothbrush; I'd put it in her bed before she went to sleep at night (one year I made him hold a pair of her underpants while he was hiding under the covers and she let out an outraged screech I heard all the way downstairs). The best though was when she boxed him up and shipped him to me in college. No one understood why I was sitting in the lounge doubled over screaming laughter holding a large Santa. We don't know what happened to him. He was in our attic and has now vanished. Every so often we expect to hear rapid footfalls of his horrible little boots.

Carolyn Hax: So beautiful I'm getting all misty. Remind me next year to tell you about The Bloody Mouthed Dog.

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Icky approval: Well, when one hears an explanation, musn't one decide if they approve of it or not? At least in this situation? If she said "I ignore homeless people because they are deadbeats" and he dumped her, would that be icky disapproval? When we are dating someone new, we take our clues on these kinds of issues in order to decide if they are someone we want to keep in our life. I don't see a problem with it.

Carolyn Hax: Rewind a few posts. "Understand" vs. "approve." Then fast forward a couple to "fine distinctions."

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Northern Virginia: Carolyn,

My christmas presents arrived yesterday. Nobody would know if I opened them. Can I?

Carolyn Hax: We would know.

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Carolyn Hax: To anonymous working in the ICU--I listened, but I wish I could do more. You're a hero.

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Los Angeles, Calif.: Please help with my Christmas Conundrum. When my husband and I married three months ago, his parents and four of his brothers and sisters refused to attend our wedding because it wasn't being held in the Catholic church.

(Long story short: he applied for an annulment three years ago and the church has done nothing but cash the check. We got tired of waiting)

A week after we were married, his parents started pretending the wedding never happened. Now they ask him all the time why they never see me! He has asked me to please join him at his parents' house for Christmas dinner. I don't know how to have a civil conversation with the wedding boycotters. Any advice would be much appreciated.

Carolyn Hax: It's not personal, it's just business. I'm not sure if I could swallow that fully myself, but it's what I'd be repeating in my head. They apparently felt their duty to their beliefs was greater than their duty to him or to you. You don't have to agree with it, like it, or like them--but your husband, whom you do agree with and like, wants to be on civil terms with his family with you at his side. You don't have to agree with this, but if you do, great, you just grit your teeth and go--and if you don't, I think you do have to have a well-thought-out reason not to.

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Carolyn Hax: Time to go, but I need to check something about next week, so watch this space ...

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East Coast: Suggestions from the nuts on what to tell the relatives that ask why we aren't married this year? Something to follow up why I haven't made my SO "an honest woman" yet...

Carolyn Hax: "She hasn't asked me." Or just flip them the bird.

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Philadelphia, PA: Go, enjoy, and support your spouse.

My out-laws attended our wedding ceremony under duress, refused to attend the reception. We paid for everything ourselves.

Said our wedding was "not a happy day for them". My father walked my wife down the aisle.

25 years later, still happily married.

Too bad for them, they missed out.

We still laugh over the lift we got to the receeption in a friend's VW Beetle.

Carolyn Hax: Thanks.

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Oh, c'mon!: Los Angeles has what could be the beginnings of a great, long, bitter family feud at her disposal! What better way to celebrate the holidays than to get one underway?!

Think of the future postings that could arise from dealing with the Wedding Boycotters!!

Carolyn Hax: I can't believe I missed that! Thank you.

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RE: Formerly East Coast, now in Arizona: Hey Carolyn,

I think you skipped over the part where she said

"but I would be kidding myself if I didn't acknowledge some part of me misses what we had and...I -- don't know how to even phrase it -- wants him to still want me..."

You were kind to tell her how to get in touch w/someone with whom she regrets losing touch. But what if she what she really (almost admittedly) regrets is losing the puppy dog who wants/loves her unconditionally? She admits that she has mixed motives in contacting him.... I think her motives are mixed b/c she knows it's cruel to re-connect with someone if you know that the reason you want to re-connect is b/c you're feeling insecure and you know he will tell you you're great... just in time for you to dump him again.

That's just how I read it....

Carolyn Hax: You're right--if she's just in it to get the attention back, she should buy herself a teddy bear. Preferably one that slaps here every time she's tempted to email this guy.

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To East Coast: Personally, I like "my other girlfriend wouldn't approve."

Carolyn Hax: Especially good to use on your gf's parents.

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Anonymous: ooh..ooh..pick this one! Don't you think Christmas Conundrum deserves at least an apology from in-laws regarding the boycott of their wedding before she puts on a happy face and shows up for Christmas dinner?? Could you or anyone (without the help of sedatives) be able to sit through 4 courses of idle chit chat without grabbing the carving knife and slitting your throat (or theirs)?

Carolyn Hax: Of course she -deserves- an apology, but they don't think so; they think they did the right thing (or even more persuasive, had no choice). So she's going to have to assume one is never coming, and proceed with her married life from there.

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Carolyn Hax: Okay this is ridiculous. I really do have to go; next week's chat might change days, so pls check the schedule to be sure. Thanks, and seeya.

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Carolyn Hax: Kidding! It has moved. Wednesday noon. See youse then.

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