Life Advice



Ask Amy: Hard luck brother begs for funds

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Your brother may not be OK. If you understand and accept the likelihood that he will careen from crisis to crisis, you might better be able to pace yourself.

Dear Amy: I recently arranged and paid for an activity for a small group of friends with the clear understanding that each of them would repay me for their portion of the total.

One of the friends, who is an amateur artist, painted a picture, had it framed, and presented it to me as payment for her inclusion in the activity.

I appreciate the gesture, but money is tight for me, and I expected monetary compensation.

How do I return the artwork and request payment in legal tender, without creating a rift within this friendship?

– In Need


Dear In Need: I don’t think it’s necessary to return the painting, although – depending on your friend’s reaction – you could offer to do so.

Contact your friend and speak frankly: “Thank you so much for the painting. It was so thoughtful of you to give it to me. I know I mentioned this to everyone, and I really do need to be reimbursed for the cost of the activity. I’m circling back to remind you. Are you able to send me a check?”

Dear Amy: “Daughter-in-law in Training” needs to deal with her demanding mother-in-law by understanding that sometimes even "no" isn't strong enough for persistent demand-makers.

I have switched to "I can't." It communicates a non-negotiable.


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