Life Advice



Ask Amy: True friends are worth freezing for

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

The problem is that he picks his nose and chews with his mouth open, and his parents don't seem to care.

I would like to take him aside and say something, but I'm hesitant. I could mention this to his mother, but surely she has noticed.

Saying something to his older sister might be best, even though she's at college.

When we meet on Zoom, it's hard to watch Brian’s gross habits. I am worried that it affects how his peers and others feel about him.

Your advice?

– Up the Nose

Dear Up the Nose: If you see “Brian” picking his nose, you can wordlessly hand him a napkin or tissue. Just reach over and hand it to him, saying, “Here you go.”

You can even do this via Zoom. On camera, you can say, “Hey, somebody hand this to Brian.” And you hoist a tissue toward the camera, hoping that someone will take the cue and hand him a tissue on the other end. (I’ve offered tissues to people on Zoom when they sneeze, and it can be a fun visual gag.)

I would not take these issues to others. He’s 15. If you can’t deal with him lightheartedly and directly, then you should let it go for now.


Dear Amy: “Torn,” who is expecting her first child, says she is estranged from her mentally and physically abusive mother, but then asks you what she “owes” her mother.

Why do people who were abused and neglected growing up feel they owe their parents anything?

– Don’t Understand

Dear Don’t: Adult survivors feel this way because they are confused and sometimes wracked with guilt over their parents’ behavior. They don’t know what “script” to follow, because they’ve been denied emotional and physical nurturing.


(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.




Wizard of Id Drew Sheneman Adam Zyglis Cul de Sac Daddy's Home Barney Google And Snuffy Smith