Life Advice



Ask Amy: For advice shopper, the answer is alienation

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Neither of them work, and they are always home together.

EVERY time I speak to my father, Darcy is in the background making comments and offering unwanted opinions regarding what we are trying to talk about.

My dad ignores it, but it is so irritating and disruptive that it makes me not want to talk to him.

Any advice?

– Frustrated Son

Dear Son: You should assume that when you and your father speak by phone, your conversation isn’t private, even if “Darcy” isn’t in the background, weighing in. If you want to communicate with your father uninterrupted, a weekly email exchange might work best.

It is genuinely challenging to talk to two people on the phone at the same time. You might want to start your calls by talking to Darcy and expressing an interest in her doings. Then you could ask, “Dad, could you step into the other room? I’d love to talk privately for a few minutes.”

Dear Amy: Thank you so much for your response to “Bay Area Stepmom Cook,” who refused to omit onions from her dishes, even though her stepdaughter’s husband had an aversion to them.


My mother-in-law respected my dislike/aversion to garlic. It was just like you said: Every time she thoughtfully left out the garlic (or served me separately), I honestly did feel loved.

– Garlucked

Dear Garlucked: I’ve received a huge response to this question. Thank you.


(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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