Dear Amy: I gave my neighbor, who is my best friend, access to my home to care for my animals while on vacation. This is something our families have done for each other over the years. Along with caring for our animals, they brought in our mail.
My husband and I have become uneasy about allowing them access to our mail but felt awkward saying it was being held at the post office when they would be coming to our home each day, anyway.
They have been making presumptuous comments about our financial situation. The comments are accurate and contain information we have never shared with them.
Upon returning home from our recent vacation, some envelopes looked like they’d been tampered with. These envelopes all contained investment statements.
The specific comments they’ve made about our finances leaves me with little doubt that they opened our mail to see how much money we have.
We can’t be 100 percent certain that they opened our mail, but feel 85 percent certain that they did.
We have been extremely close friends for over 20 years. Now I feel like their curiosity destroyed our friendship because we can no longer trust them.
I have been sick about this. If we confront them, I have no doubt they will deny it and it would ruin our friendship.
If we don’t confront them, it will just fester and damage our friendship, anyway.
– Betrayed, Hurt & Sad
Dear Betrayed: Opening mail addressed to someone else (without their permission) is a serious offense and accusing them of this would be a serious accusation.
One way to avoid making a direct accusation would be to say, “We are worried that some of our mail might have been tampered with or opened while we were away. Did you notice anything unusual about it when you were bringing it into the house?”
Regardless of their guilt or innocence, your trust in these friends has obviously eroded. You should lock down your financial information. Decline paper copies of your investment statements and use an online-only system.
Notify each provider that paper statements might have been seen, and ask what additional security steps you might need to take.
In the future, have your mail held at the post office when you go away. You don’t need to explain this choice at all. Anyone could take or tamper with your mail if they are aware that you are away.
If this couple is so bold as to bring up your specific financial situation, you should call them on it: “We don’t discuss our finances and wish you weren’t so curious about this.”
Dear Amy: My birthday falls on or near Thanksgiving every year.
For other family birthdays, my relatives insist on making the day special for the celebrant – they get to pick a family outing or the menu for the birthday party.
For mine, my "party" is a candle on my dessert at Thanksgiving dinner, even in years when there are a few days between my birthday and the holiday.
I have a milestone birthday coming up, and I'd like to do something special.
Unfortunately, this year my birthday falls on Thanksgiving Day.
What's the best way to bow out of the family holiday party so I can do something for me?
There's no point talking with my relatives about maybe doing something different this year – the holiday will always take priority.
– Family Afterthought
Dear Afterthought: I’m assuming that you are an adult, which makes things easier – because you have free will and (presumably) transportation.
If the exact day of your birthday is the day that you want to celebrate, then make your plan and simply tell your family: “I’m not going to be at Thanksgiving dinner this year because I’m [flying down to Rio…] to celebrate my birthday.”
However, it seems to me that you might be able to have things both ways this year: Enjoy your (perhaps tepid) birthday during the family feast, and then do something really special for yourself the day after.
Dear Amy: Responding to “Wondering Father of the Groom” who wanted to memorialize his late-wife at his son’s wedding, when my sister married after both mothers had died, she and her husband had an acknowledgement for both of their late-mothers.
There were sunflowers in one vase near the altar, and each of them took it in turns to recognize the importance of each mother, while moving the flowers to a larger bouquet. It was simply lovely.
Dear Aimee: Yes, this is beautiful.
©2021 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.