Life Advice





Impending Beach Trip Causes Trepidation

Life Advice / Sense & Sensitivity /

DEAR HARRIETTE: I go to the beach every summer, and I am looking forward to it again this year. I have a bit of trepidation, too. I have gained a lot of weight. As much as I like to sit out on the beach and tan and walk around and collect shells, I am feeling more and more self-conscious about my body. I know that nobody is checking for me like ...Read more

'Just One?' Not Meant As An Insult

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I'm a single guy in his late 50s who enjoys recharging as a solo diner in restaurants. Sometimes I'll catch up on reading, other times I people-watch, and other times, I simply enjoy quiet time with myself. (Notice I did not say "by" myself.)

Could you please advise restaurant hosts that it is degrading to say, "Just one?" as...Read more

Anguished by Anxiety

Life Advice / Dear Annie /

Dear Annie: My son has left home several times in the past, only to return because he can't seem to get his life together. A year ago, my husband died, and my live-in son, his wife and their baby stayed to "look after me."

They took over my house with their video games, clothing and trash. When my son became very verbally abusive to me, I ...Read more

Ask Amy: Prospective grandmother can’t celebrate baby

Life Advice / Ask Amy /

Dear Amy: I know I'm old-fashioned, but I still think I'm right!

My son has been dating a young lady for about six months. They live together. She has a 3-year-old child and no relationship with that child’s father.

Now she and my son are expecting a child of their own.

I am not thrilled. He is 29 and she is 24.

They would like me to host ...Read more

Former Friend Doesn't Know The Whole Story

Life Advice / Dear Abby /

DEAR ABBY: About 10 years ago, my longtime best friend, "Byron," abruptly cut me out of his life. I never clearly understood why. I reached out to him on and off for several years without success. Then I ran into him, traded pleasantries and we followed up. He returned my email, we began communicating again about things that mattered, and it ...Read more

Annie's Mailbox: His Daughter

Life Advice / Annie's Mailbox /

Dear Annie: My family wants to move to another state. The only reason we haven't is because of my dad's job. He has worked for the same company for 18 years and doesn't want to lose his retirement benefits. I understand how important the job is, but the company could easily allow a transfer to another branch.

Whenever we try to talk to Dad ...Read more

Affluent Friend Doesn't Want Relationships To Change

Life Advice / Sense & Sensitivity /

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have had a couple of financially good years recently. At the same time, I know that a couple of my closest friends have been suffering. I do my best to be supportive. For example, we used to go out to eat a lot. Now, I invite them over for drinks or dinner at least once a month so we can hang without adding burdensome expenses ...Read more

The Landscapers Know All

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I work on landscaping and grounds maintenance projects. On many occasions, I have encountered hidden house keys -- under the mat, beneath a flowerpot and so forth.

Should I mention my discoveries to the owners? It seems awkward to say, "I know where your keys are hidden."

GENTLE READER: The only reason Miss Manners can think...Read more

Struggling to Rebuild Family After Ugly Divorce

Life Advice / Dear Annie /

Dear Annie: At the end of 2015, I decided to end my marriage of 30 years. My ex made the divorce very long and expensive, and he tried to financially destroy me in retribution. He involved our daughter and son and turned them against me. I have tried from the beginning to maintain my relationship with my kids, but they quickly shut me out of ...Read more

Ask Amy: Traumatized veteran seeks healing

Life Advice / Ask Amy /

Dear Amy: I'm a 41-year-old man. My wife is 34.

We've been married for 15 years. We have two children, ages 14 and eight.

Our marriage has been difficult, mainly due to my PTSD from Iraq and an opioid addiction. Once I got sober, I shut out the world.

I was an avoidant parent.

My wife stuck with me through all of this, but 18 months ago she ...Read more

Widow Finds Happiness With High School Sweetheart

Life Advice / Dear Abby /

DEAR ABBY: My husband of 37 years passed away four months ago. When we were first married, we were happy, but his drinking increased and he turned into a miserable, mean drunk. When I decided I'd finally had enough, he got sick and could no longer work, and I felt obligated to take care of him. More than a decade of my life was spent looking ...Read more

Annie's Mailbox: Need Mother-in-Law Help

Life Advice / Annie's Mailbox /

Dear Annie: I am married to an absolute angel. Unfortunately, her mother has been living with us for the past two years. Mom doesn't work, doesn't do much of anything around the house, doesn't cook or clean, and sleeps until nearly noon. We have to ask her to do things, just as we would a child, and then she responds as if we're scolding her.

...Read more

Single File: Scared to Death

Life Advice / Single File /

DEAR SUSAN: A 42-year-old professional woman, I'm new to the single world -- and scared to death. I have been away from this type of thing for 15 years and, with an 18-year-old daughter, don't want to end up in a place where her friends hang out. I've been reading "Single File" and the letters that come to you out of neediness. Is it really that...Read more


Erika Ettin: How to explain a bad date, with help from psychology

Life Advice / Dating Advice /

What went wrong on your last date? The way you answer could change everything about how you approach your next one.

Psychologists Martin Seligman and Gregory McClell Buchanan have studied how people explain life events. How might we explain the man who was rude to us on the bus? Or the results of the “cutest dog” photo contest we answered? ...Read more

Squabbling At Work Worries Leader's Confidant

Life Advice / Sense & Sensitivity /

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am in the onboarding process for a new project, and one of the principals is worrying me. There is a lot of tension in leadership. I have the ear of one of the leaders, and right now all I'm hearing is moaning and groaning about internal feuding. It's making me worry that the work cannot get done due to the bickering. I want to...Read more

Seeing This Friend Means Seeing All Of Her

Life Advice / Miss Manners /

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Some good friends of ours, a husband and wife, have a painting of the wife in their living room. The painting is a nude from her much younger days.

It is not erotic, but it is very large and very explicit and detailed. She is looking at the viewer with a direct challenge.

When we visit, we are always taken to this room. I've...Read more

Gifts Go Unappreciated -- Again

Life Advice / Dear Annie /

Dear Annie: Each year, I send my sister's three adult children gifts. The youngest does not thank me unless prompted. My two questions are: Isn't this rude? And should I cease sending her a gift?

Since we live in different states, I usually text all three sisters to let them know something is on the way.

For the last few years, I have not ...Read more

Ask Amy: Wedding exclusion would continue estrangement

Life Advice / Ask Amy /

Dear Amy: I have begun the arduous task of compiling a guest list for my upcoming wedding.

While discussing this with my parents, I made it very clear that I was not going to invite my first cousin, “Anna.”

For background, my aunt (Anna’s mom) died of cancer in 2019. It was devastating for the family. It was especially hard for me as I ...Read more

Teenager Sports Skivvies In Front Of Strangers

Life Advice / Dear Abby /

DEAR ABBY: I don't know what to do about my 18-year-old niece. She walks around the house in her underwear. She's been doing it for the last two or three years. It wouldn't matter, I suppose, if it were just in front of immediate family living there, but she also does it in front of workmen, the cleaning women, answering the door, going out to ...Read more

Annie's Mailbox: Windows to the Soul

Life Advice / Annie's Mailbox /

Dear Annie: Two years ago, my son's fiancee recommended we rotate who hosts Christmas dinner. That year, she and my son went to her mom's house, and last year they were supposed to come to mine. Instead, they went to her mom's again and were upset that I didn't want to tag along. Annie, at the time, my 73-year-old mother was in a rehab facility....Read more