Life Advice



Woman in treatment refuses to be 'the sick girl'

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

They should wear earphones so not to disturb the people around them.

It's terrible to have to hear this, especially when it competes with the music in the restaurant.

I haven't yet asked anyone to shut it off, nor have I asked restaurant staff to ask them to shut it off.

-- Upset Patron

Dear Patron: I disagree with your analogy that listening/watching on devices in restaurants is the same as using them in a movie theater. In a theater, patrons are there to watch/listen to one medium, en masse. At a restaurant, patrons engage in discreet activities around their separate tables.

I completely agree with you, however, that if the volume of media at a neighbor's table rises above normal conversation level, or is particularly annoying (as many children's video games are), you are well within your rights to ask, "Would you mind turning the volume down -- or maybe wear headphones?"


Dear Amy: As a disabled person who receives disability payments, I was highly offended that you directed "Upset Neighbor" to report her neighbor for disability fraud. How dare you suggest that a neighbor should meddle in this way?!

-- Offended

Dear Offended: Several readers were similarly offended. However, in my response I challenged "Upset's" knowledge of the neighbor's situation and supplied a number of supportive reasons this neighbor -- or anyone -- would receive disability payments. The neutral tone of my answer, as well as the fact that I supplied accurate information about how to report fraud seems to have upset people who receive this life-saving financial support.


(You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)




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