Life Advice



Ask Amy: Marrying couple masters the art of asking

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

I opened the container and immediately knew that I would be sick for days if I ate it.

How do I politely thank her but get the message across that I could not eat it?

For the people who feel the need to give others food, please talk to them first to find out what they eat and if they have room to store the food!

– Overfed

Dear Overfed: I can’t imagine how the concept of bringing food to a bereaved person has escaped you. Every region and culture I can think of contains a version of this practice, and although you make a strong case for the burden of receiving food when you haven’t asked for it, and a very good point regarding the challenge of receiving food you cannot consume, I hope you understand that there is a real spirit of generosity behind this effort.

You can thank your co-worker using a version of this: “Thank you so much for dropping off the container of stew! I am so touched that you thought of me. Unfortunately for me, I can’t eat anything spicy, but oh – it smells so good. If I can find room in my freezer, I’m going to save it for a hungry guest. Let me know if you’d like me to return the container. I’m doing well right now, and I am so grateful for your thoughtfulness, but fortunately for me, I’m all set for food.”

Dear Amy: Your response to grandpa bringing his grandkids cookies when he watches them, was ridiculous.

You completely attacked his character, saying he's lazy and implying that he may exert his "power" in other ways.


That was over the top and a bit dramatic.

Don't be so lazy with the name-calling.

– Disgusted

Dear Disgusted: This grandfather’s choice was to ignore the explicit wishes of the children’s parents. So yes, he seemed like a lazy and disrespectful caregiver.


(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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