Life Advice



Ask Amy: Teacher tackles a ‘lost and found’ cold case

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

She eagerly expects us to eat, wear, and/or prominently display her gifts, into which she obviously puts a great deal of effort.

I have tried subtly mentioning that my diet is strict or that my skin is sensitive to certain fabrics or that the knick-knacks on my shelves collect dust, but to no avail.

Today, Shelly showed up with a huge, homemade holiday sculpture for our front yard.

How can I clearly discourage her generosity without hurting her feelings, which I would never, ever want to do?

– Overwhelmed in Georgia

Dear Overwhelmed: “Shelly” is obviously a kind and generous person, but you should set some firmer boundaries.

Sit down with her. Say, “This is awkward and hard to bring up, but I hope you understand. We are so lucky and grateful to have you with us. We value you so much. But we really cannot continue to accept any more gifts from you. Your gift to us is the wonderful care you provide, and that’s all we want or need.”

I don’t think this will necessarily stop the heaping helpings of food and gifts, but it might slow her down. Readers may want to weigh in.

Dear Amy: “I Don’t Get It” was texting with his date for that night, and when she didn’t respond to one of his texts, he dropped her!


I can’t believe you agreed with him.

– Upset

Dear Upset: The couple had confirmed plans. She didn’t respond to his text on the day, but then responded very late that night as if nothing was going on.

It is easy to retrace a text trail to see who dropped the ball. She was sending a pretty clear message.


(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.



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