Life Advice



Ask Amy: Patient friend becomes ‘comfort bot’

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: My spouse and I are fervent Democrats, and yet the six other family members we’ve invited to dinner (sitting at adjacent outdoor tables) are all Republicans.

My fear is that a relative is going to bring up politics (probably as a jibe) to initiate a debate with us, even though we are the hosts. This has happened before.

How do I politely handle such a situation that could easily spiral out of control?

I could respond that our wish is, just for this once, to avoid politics during dinner, but it may come off as a put-down of sorts and serve to deflate everyone's spirits.

Something with a bit of humor could defuse and deflect it, but I’m not very funny when I feel confronted, and offering one snarky joke or comment to counter another could inflame instead of defuse. Please help!

— Worried

Dear Worried: I believe that for the next few weeks, lots of families are considering a moratorium on talking politics. One way to do that would be to say, at the outset: “Let’s see if we can get through this dinner without discussing politics, OK? First one to incite a riot has to do the dishes.” The problem is that almost every topic has political overtones right now. It’s easier not to take the bait if you refuse to take “jibes” personally, even if you suspect that is the intent.

Dear Amy: Responding to “My Hair, My Choice,” I’m glad so many women (and maybe men) have decided to let their true hair color show through due to the pandemic.

To cover early salt and pepper I started coloring my hair in my late 30s.


I quit in my late 40s to save time and money.

Last year I lost all my hair due to chemo. I feel fortunate it’s grown back salt and pepper and some curl!

— Grateful for The Extra Time

Dear Grateful: Chemo is the great leveler. I’m celebrating your recovery!


(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.)





A.F. Branco Beetle Bailey Bill Day Monte Wolverton Paul Szep Cul de Sac