Life Advice



Ask Amy: Self-taught expert oversteps with advice

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: My daughter's boyfriend is a self-taught personal trainer (with no professional training).

He had previously been an airplane mechanic.

He acts like he's a medical doctor, constantly offering unsolicited advice.

I have asked my daughter (privately) to please make him stop. He follows all these weird and wacky diets that he sees on YouTube. At one point, he was actually eating sticks of butter with his meals. (Yes, just biting into and eating sticks of butter.)

He once lectured me for over 15 minutes on how I must add salt to my ice water. Um no — I should not.

Everything he says is excessive. There is no moderation. It's 100 percent or nothing.

The other day this led to a heated yelling match when I heard him tell my husband how he'd "fix" him with some quasi-medical cure.

I totally lost it. To my shame, I behaved horribly.

I yelled at him and told him we do not need his "medical advice." I even said that his own parents don't listen to him, so why should we?

I was totally wrong talking to him the way I did.

I sent apologies the next morning to both my daughter and her boyfriend.

But now — what do I do?

I am not going to sit there with a smile on my face, while he goes on and on. That just encourages him.

– Fed Up

Dear Fed Up: You don’t know yet what the effect of your outburst will be. It might have shocked him into compliance. It has likely affected your daughter’s interest in spending time with all of you together.

In addition to the outburst itself, you really should NOT have gotten “personal” with him, telling him how his own parents feel about his advice.

This man obviously has a passionate interest and obsessive personality, and he is dominating your get togethers (and likely others’).

I wonder how your daughter feels about his behavior, and how she copes with it?

The more you attack him (however justified), the more your daughter may feel forced closer to him.

You have already staked out your position. In the future, if he slips into this sort of monologue, you can excuse yourself from the room – and everyone will understand – and possibly be relieved.


Dear Amy: For the past four years my husband and I have invited two ladies to join us in sharing a condo we rent in Mexico.

One woman, who I thought was a close friend, brought the other along and I grew to really like her. We enjoy them.

They get a real deal when they visit, as we charge them a minimal rent.

It started out as seven days. Then they asked for two weeks, but I told them that 10 days was really my limit.

One year, they invited a third woman along without even consulting me. I told them I wasn't open to that.

The problem I'm having is that they are never in touch during the year. I’m not invited anywhere with them. Both women are divorced, and I am not, and perhaps that's part of it.

I wonder if I'm just being used as a nice place to stay in the winter.

I recently saw on Facebook that they're going to Florida for a vacation, and I'm hurt that I wasn't invited.

Am I overreacting — or am I being played?

– Left Out

Dear Left Out: I don’t think you’re being “played.” I think that you and your husband are “That nice couple who sublet part of their nice condo in Cabo each year.”

Because they are never in touch (until it’s “Cabo-time”), these two women are not in your friend-zone. But if you enjoy their company, you should continue to rent to them, and if you’d like to be included in some of their adventures – you should let them know: “I saw on Facebook that you two were in Florida. If there’s ever room for a third, I hope you’ll let me know.”

Dear Amy: Regarding the common problem of parents being "overrun" with their kids’ toys, here’s what my friend did: Once a month she would go into her children's room and create a pile of toys. She would tell her kids that in three days whatever was left in that pile would be donated.

The kids could take back whatever they wanted. She was always surprised with how much was still in the pile by the third day.

– Toy Lover!

Dear Toy Lover! I like it!


(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.)

©2022 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.



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