Life Advice



Ask Amy: Loyal stepdad shouldn’t unload on family

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

– Asking for a Friend

Dear Asking: A few words about advice: Anyone is always free to “take or not take” advice -- solicited or otherwise. Keep that very much in mind.

I have a quote scrawled on a Post-It note over my desk: “Unsolicited advice is always self-serving.”

For instance, your desire to warn someone away from a speeding train allays your own anxiety; it might also give you some “told you so” satisfaction later.

Unsolicited advice can also negatively affect your relationship with the person to whom you’re offering it, because it seems intrusive and personal.

That having been said, if you see a train bearing down on a loved-one, yes – you should warn them.

Just don’t expect them to necessarily heed your warning.

You can offer up your advice by essentially asking the other person to invite it. For instance, “I have a point of view regarding your personal situation. May I share it with you?”

If the other person says, “Yes – go ahead,” they’re more likely to hear what you say.


Dear Amy: “Tired and Taxed” said his wife had hidden many of her financial assets, while continuing to accept his financial support for the running of the household.

Thank you for suggesting that he call a lawyer. Some forensic accounting is called for, and her response to the idea of a “post-nup” could give him an important clue concerning the future of their marriage.

– Supportive Husband

Dear Supportive: I agree.


(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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