Life Advice



Annie's Mailbox: Wishing for More Involvement, Know Better Now

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar on

Dear Annie: My boyfriend, "Darrin," and I have been seeing each other for five years. I love him and feel loved by him. He is affectionate and a great listener. I have grown children who are free to pop in and out of my house whenever they please. We also have many extended family get-togethers throughout the year.

Darrin will ask me about my kids and siblings and seem interested when I talk about them. But he doesn't seem eager to make them part of his life. He says he doesn't like big groups, so he rarely goes with me to family get-togethers. He also doesn't like to come over when my kids are here and makes no effort to get to know them. When I invite him, he makes up excuses for why he can't come.

My kids think Darrin is distant and doesn't care about them. Will he be like this if we marry and live in the same house? Is this something that can be worked through? -- Wishing for More Involvement

Dear Wishing: You need to discuss this directly with Darrin. Tell him you find his lack of interest in your family upsetting and want to know why he doesn't care to get to know them better. Your children (not to mention your siblings) are important to you, and should the relationship progress, you want to be certain he will not alienate your family. Keep in mind, however, that not all people are close to the children and relatives of their significant others. This doesn't have to be a deal-breaker. What counts is that he not interfere with the level of attachment that you want.

Dear Annie: Need Some Guidance said her friend is educated and intelligent, but mispronounces some words. You are right that it is difficult to correct a grownup's pronunciation, but I believe it is still worthwhile. After all, the objective is to help a friend be seen by others in the best possible light.

Many years ago, I was in the habit of using the word "irregardless." My employer helped educate me. She casually said, "You know, you have such a good command of the English language, it surprises me when you say 'irregardless.'" She then enlightened me about it not being a proper word, and I will always be grateful she did. -- Know Better Now

Dear Know: Several readers weighed in on this. Read on:

From Florence, Ky.: As a child, most of my friends and family said "liberry" instead of "library." During my senior year in college, I was walking with a good friend and said, "Do you want to go into the liberry?" She slammed her books onto the concrete sidewalk and said, "It's LIBRARY! It has an 'a' and an 'r.' Say it!" I smiled and said it correctly. She had never raised her voice before. I laugh every time I think of the word and say it correctly now.


Simi Valley, Calif.: There are people who were taught to read by memorization and don't understand that letters have specific sounds. Phonics helps.

New York: As a speech language pathologist, I address these issues all the time. It may not be a reflection of education and intelligence, but rather a learning disability.

Boston: My husband has always mispronounced words. He once saw a speech therapist, but it didn't help. I often wonder whether he has a slight form of dyslexia. No matter. We've been married for 50 years, and he's a great person.

Pittsburgh, Pa.: In parts of southwestern Pennsylvania, we say "pitcher" for "picture." We also "redd" up a room, which dates back to an Elizabethan English term related to the word "ready," referring to removing stones from a field. I have traveled through many American small towns and love hearing the accents and word usages that are unique to specific regions.


This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2014. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at



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