Dear Annie: My sister "Kendra" and I are not very close and only communicate two to three times per year, mainly in emails. Kendra sold her home and moved out of state. Through our sibling, I heard that she listed her house high to begin with and had to come down on her price in the end but made a decent amount on it. I never commented on how much she made or didn't make on her old house; I felt that was absolutely none of my business. When she moved and posted pictures of her new house, I commented that I was happy for her.
Fast-forward to me selling my home a year or so later. After my home sold, the information on it went out to the various housing sites, incorrectly showing that it took a loss. We actually did make a nice profit on it. The information that went out was a typo and was corrected about four weeks later.
Kendra was quick to reach out in an email stating she saw online how much we sold for and was surprised at the extreme money loss we took. She then asked if it was a short sale or foreclosure and commented that we must have been very upset about it.
I feel this was none of her business, even if it was the right information. Am I overreacting that I feel it was quite rude for her to comment on my personal business? How should I reply back to her? -- Perplexed
Dear Perplexed: It's never polite to comment on someone's finances -- especially if you are making a negative comment, as your sister did. The way you responded to her home sale -- congratulating her and keeping your nose out of her personal finances -- was just right.
To give Kendra the benefit of the doubt, it's possible she was simply surprised and reacted impulsively, or perhaps she was curious, or perhaps she missed you and was using this as an excuse to make contact. Whatever her reason, let her know about the corrected typo in your response, and then change the subject. Ask her about a hobby of hers or a trip that she recently took; this should make it clear that your bank account is not fair game for a conversation starter.
Dear Annie: I was hoping to weigh in on a recent question from "No One Special," the woman whose husband and children did nothing for her on her birthday or Mother's Day, even though she works hard to make sure their birthdays are special.
I agree that she should have a serious discussion with her spouse, but since he hasn't responded positively in the past, she might want to take a different approach.
She can't force him to change, but she can do something special for herself. On her birthday and Mother's Day, she could treat herself to something she likes to do -- a pedicure, dinner at a nice restaurant, etc. Perhaps she has a friend who could share the day with her.
It's not the same as having a loved one recognize you, but sometimes we just have to care for ourselves. It sounds as if this lovely person certainly deserves it.
And if she's looking for a good laugh, the "Saturday Night Live" skit with Kristen Wiig called "Christmas Morning" is about this exact same situation, which seems to be almost universal for mothers. It's worth a watch! -- Making the Most of Things
Dear Making the Most: What a great idea! "No One Special" deserves to be pampered on special occasions, even if that means doing it herself. And who knows -- maybe, in time, her husband and children will follow her example and start planning celebrations for her, too.
"How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?" is out now! Annie Lane's second anthology -- featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to email@example.com.