Life Advice



Ask Amy: ‘Lunch Ladies’ serve extra portions of kindness

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

I would like to confront her with this because it has affected our relationship.

I know she loves me, but I can’t return the feelings because of her dishonesty.

She has to feel my coldness at times.

Should I confront her by saying I feel she has a problem, and it has affected our relationship?

– Caring Cousin

Dear Cousin: If you are absolutely certain that your cousin is a habitual thief, you should speak with her about it, certainly if you witness this behavior.

You should frame this as a conversation, versus a confrontation, and you should express your concern within the context of how it has affected your relationship: “I believe you have a big problem, and it has really interfered with our cousin-relationship. I don’t feel comfortable with your behavior. I honestly think you need professional help, because we were both taught that stealing is wrong, and yet you do it, anyway.”

According to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention (, a very small percentage of shoplifters are caught – and very few are prosecuted – but chronic shoplifters may need professional help to stop. Their website offers a helpful and confidential self-assessment, along with the opportunity to connect with a therapist.


It is unethical to accept a gift if you know it has been stolen.

Dear Amy: “Very Concerned” reported that her sister-in-law disclosed a long-ago sexual assault. Thank you for understanding that disclosure itself is an important first step in healing. This concerned sister-in-law is a true friend to listen and encourage her sister-in-law to seek more help.

– Been There

Dear Been There: offers supportive online and telephone counseling.


(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.)

©2021 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.




Brian Duffy One Big Happy Bizarro Cathy Daddy Daze Clay Bennett