Mother-In-Law With House Key Proves Untrustworthy
(taken from 8/11/19 "Dear Abby")
LETTER: My mother-in-law has a key to my house. I didn't give it to her. We left a key under the mat one day so she could get in to pick up something because I wasn't going to be home when she arrived. I asked my husband to get the key back, but he is uncomfortable asking.
She and my father-in-law have been in our house twice more in our absence. We were out of town, and we were shocked to hear they had entered our home without asking. It was almost sneaky the way they did it, and when I talked to my husband about it, he was upset as well and took his anger out on me. It ruined our day traveling. We didn't speak the entire two-hour trip back home.
I asked my mother-in-law via text to please let us know when she was entering the house due to privacy and that I was not trying to hurt her feelings. She's now upset with me and says she doesn't know when she will visit us again. I am tired of being the second fiddle to her. Am I overreacting? It seems I can't win with this!
Abby told you to change the locks. Skillz will go a bit further:
SKILLZ SAYS: Whatever reasons your MIL has for entering your house are without merit, and since your spineless husband won't put an end to it, and since you didn't take the common-sense route of changing the locks already, I'll tell you what you do: next time you go out of town, don't tell your MIL.
If she finds out anyway, say from spineless husband, find the hairiest, orneriest friend you know and give him a key as well. Have him enter your house and strip naked with your full blessing—if he's unemployed, have him stay there the whole time. When your MIL undoubtedly shows up, she'll get quite the eyeful, and she'll have ZERO right to do anything about Hairy Naked Guy. #Friends
At best, she'll be put off and leave immediately. At worst, you'll have a trusted pair of eyes and ears providing recon. WIN! You're welcome.
P.S. If you take my advice, please reward your naked friend with some cheese or bananas or something.
Friend Expects Immediate Response; Doesn't Reciprocate
(taken from 4/8/19 "Dear Harriette")
LETTER: I have a friend who constantly refers people to me for advice. He calls and expects me to drop everything and support these people. I do my best to be of help; usually they are good people. But my friend does not return the favor. When I contact him -- even if it’s just to catch up -- I usually get his voicemail, and often it takes him days or weeks to respond. How can I get him to be more immediately responsive? He expects that of me, but doesn’t offer it in return.
Harriette advised you to ignore this friend's calls for a while. Skillz has got some tips, too:
SKILLZ SAYS: I checked and no, the letter writer is not Dear Abby, Ask Amy or any of the other famous advisers; he's just somebody who apparently has a gift for steering people in the right direction. Which is why this "friend" continues to refer people to him as if he's Ann Landers Jr.
The problem is, he will not offer the same courtesy you do. So you're going to have to make him regret it. Note: this advice has the potential to cost you a few bucks, but in the long run it's worth it.
What to do: leave your friend a voicemail offering to split a $100 lottery ticket with him, since he's such a good friend. Either he'll miss the message altogether, or he'll actually call you back in search of free moola—after which you'll know he usually ignores your other messages. If he answers/responds, he gets $50. If not, make sure to rub his face in his blown opportunity whenever you do touch base.
Make it clear you'll be playing the lottery regularly and get his advice on numbers/games; he'll be quite likely to answer your next few calls, or at the very least listen to your voicemails. He won't risk missing a message and is far more likely to answer the phone given this new set of circumstances.
If even $50 is too much to let go of, you're gonna have to resort to gossip...imagined, if necessary. "Hey, it's me. Sorry I missed you, just wanted to say my wife is getting horny as f--- at just the mere sight of my sister and I'm just so confused."
My final suggestion: start giving his referrals comically bad advice. ("Can't decide on a major for college? Just don't go!" "Not sure the baby's yours? Get her drunk so she'll tell the truth!" "Like the guy at the coffee shop? Follow him home and tell him so!") That will DEFINITELY get you a quick return call from your freshly bitched-out friend. WIN! You're welcome.
Wife Wants Curfew For 42-Year-Old Son
(taken from 1/29/19 "Carolyn Hax")
LETTER: My wife and I argue about my son, 42, unmarried. He lives up North but visits for a week each winter to get away from the cold. He likes to socialize with old friends while he's here. He will usually get in after we've gone to bed, which entails resetting the alarm, which wakes up my wife. She then has a hard time falling back to sleep.
She tells me I should tell him to come home before we go to bed. I say he's grown so I shouldn't tell him what to do, and he's on vacation. She says it should be a matter of courtesy and respect for him to abide by the rules we set up.
I'm having a hard time with this concept and haven't done it. I tell her it's only two nights out of the whole year and maybe she can put up with this inconvenience.
There are other issues we deal with when it comes to my son, which I feel make this bigger than just this one issue. It is causing stress in our marriage. Anything you can add?
Carolyn actually gave some practical advice —: but Skillz can definitely "add".
SKILLZ SAYS: Geez, I thought your son visited to ESCAPE the frost?
Your wife says she doesn't want Junior trudging in at 3am? Fine, no problem—have him take Ma out with him. She sounds more than a little uptight, and maybe a night with some "youngsters" could chip away some of that.
If Ma doesn't want to do that, humor your her and have your son abide by the curfew that first night. But get his friends to absolutely BLOW his phone (and your landline, if you have one) up trying to get him to go out—and to say what's up to Ma. If possible, get some friends to stop by looking for him, preferably dangerous and/or contagious-looking ones. Your wife will be MORE than happy to turn Junior loose on Night #2.
My third and final suggestion: when Junior comes home and your wife starts bitching...pretend Junior was already home and that somebody else...like a prowler...tried to get in. The three of you search the premises for the "intruder", but obviously find none. Your son gets what he wants: a nag-free night. WIN! You're welcome.
Friendship Changes When One Finds A New Job
(taken from 12/04/18 "Dear Abby")
LETTER: I thought I had a best friend. We got to know each other when we worked together for almost four years. He's straight, I'm gay and we're total opposites. However, he taught me how to fish and took me shooting at his family's ranch; we would go to dinners/lunches and go to the city. He's a few years older than I am (he's in his 30s).
When I went to rehab for six weeks, he came to visit me. But when I celebrated my first year of sobriety a few months back, he never congratulated me. I found a new job almost a year ago, so we stopped seeing or contacting each other.
Looking back, I was always the one asking to hang out and planning the days when we would do fun things together. I feel hurt that he hasn't checked in with me, but I feel like my friendship should be valued and that friendships should be a two-way street.
Am I being childish? Is it too late to reach out? It's been six months with no contact. I thought I showed him how much I cared about our friendship. It would have meant a lot to me if he had reached out to see how I was doing.
Abby suggested you do the reaching out. Skillz has an alternative:
SKILLZ SAYS: While I wouldn't call your behavior necessarily childish, it is awfully unmanly (and NO, I'm not using that term because you're gay. We here at TSR are whinyphobic, not homophobic.) If a dude wants to hang out with another dude, you know what he does? HE ASKS THE OTHER DUDE TO HANG OUT. He doesn't sit around like god damn Cinderella and wait to be swept off his feet with an invite.
I'll stop short of advising you to get thrown in rehab again, but I will advise you to use the one thing that appeals to EVERY MAN: free food. Show up at his job with fish you shot, taking two of those things he taught you that you apparently bonded over. Hint that you serve up scrumptious fish dinners every Friday night now, thanks to his lessons, and that he's invited anytime.
If he gives a damn about you at all, you'll see more of him and everything will be back to normal. If not? It means he don't like you no more. or that you were just a temporary work buddy. But hey, that means more fish for yourself! WIN! You're welcome.
Worried Mom Keeps Texting Son's Girlfriend
(taken from 8/13/18 "Dear Abby")
LETTER: I have been dating "James" for almost a year. Things have been rough for him recently. His depression has led to school attendance issues, but we got through it.
The problem is James' mother. She's well meaning, and she has always been incredibly sweet to me, but she has started texting and questioning me about how I am doing, regarding her son and the "trials" he brings to our relationship (or her perception of them). I appreciate her concern, but it makes me very uncomfortable.
Perhaps she asks out of concern for me, but it seems like she's trying to speak on his behalf or defend him somehow, which makes me feel awful. How can I explain to her that something which is meant to be as simple as "Are you doing OK?" is hurting me?
Abby told you to ask how SHE is doing...which will only encourage further inquires. Skillz suggests this:
SKILLZ SAYS: You like this woman overall, it seems, so let's not risk upsetting her by revealing her concern actually hurts you. Let's end the "concern" another way.
Your letter suggests the two of you may still be in high school, which means ignoring her texts or avoiding her entirely is probably impossible (at least not without some fallout).
So the best thing you can do at this point is be fully "honest" with Mama. The next time she asks how you're doing, respond with graphic detail about your unusually long and messy periods. Mention how James recently slipped and fell in the discharge, but still loves you. Whenever Mama tries to steer the topic elsewhere, steer it back to all your stained sheets and panties:
MAMA: "So, honey, I was wondering if you've seen the latest Star Wars movie?"
YOU: "I tried to, but the $20 in my pocket was soaked in period blood! LOL, has that ever happened to you???"
If continuing to communicate via text, SEND A PHOTO—staged or otherwise..
Be sure to convey how good it feels to talk to someone about your "issue", implying that this won't be the last Red Sea discussion between you two if she continues contact. Before long, she'll delete your number. WIN! You're welcome.
Family Against Woman Without Boundaries
(taken from 5/2/18 "Dear Abby")
LETTER: I need advice badly. A close family member has been living with a woman who sexually assaults people by grabbing their genitalia, kissing them forcibly on the mouth and touching their buttocks. She's completely without boundaries.
We have an important family event coming up and have decided not to invite her because we don't feel safe around her. The close family member is incensed with us, furious even. He chalks his girlfriend's transgressions up to "medical events."
Abby, are we right to not allow her to be part of situations where she will undoubtedly behave like this? Or must we "just accept it and move on," as our family member insists, in spite of being well aware of her pattern of behavior?
Abby instructed you to not allow yourself to be forced into anything...but she didn't scold you enough. Skillz will...
SKILLZ SAYS: You are absolutely right to ban her, and I'm more than a bit concerned that you have to ask anybody that—all of this is legitimate sexual assualt! Sexual assault!
Since when are "medical events" an acceptable excuse for sexual assault? Unless she's having heart attacks at every gathering and grabbing boobs/ass as she collapses...it ISN'T.
Since when is being acquainted with your victims an acceptable excuse for sexually assaulting them?! I can't recall ever being invited to a BBQ, walking up to the host and grabbing his junk, no matter how good the food was. (And I'm pretty out there.)
Sheesh. I swear to God...
You're not asking for true "what do I do" advice, which is our specialty. The only reason I'm responding to your letter is I have absolutely zero confidence that you will stick to your guns and keep this heathen away from your events. And judging by your piece-of-crap "close" family member, he wouldn't respect your wishes even if you tried.
So when you either buckle and allow Grabby at your event, or have Crapbag bring her against your wishes, here's what to do if junk is grabbed: that person immediately drops to the ground, writhing in extreme "pain". Eventually they pass out, and the ambulance is called.
This will give you the PERFECT opening to lose your sh-- and issue the lifetime ban ("I DON'T EVER WANT YOU NEAR US AGAIN! BECAUSE OF YOU, NOW JUNIOR'S THINGY HURTS! GET OUT!!!") Even dense idiots like these can't possibly give pushback...especially when the "news" comes back that Junior can no longer have kids. (As for the ambulance bill...it's WORTH it.)
If Grabby "only" attempts forcible smooching, have an unattractive, diseased-looking guest on hand to return the favor ("Wow, you're THIS kind of family?!") Warning: this may lead to Grabby, Crapbag or both being mad, but hey—the behavior will not stop without upsetting the assailant and her enabler. Deal with it.
It's time to finally grow a pair.
And when you do, don't let anybody grab it.
Old Friendship Is Hotbed Of Problems
(taken from 2/7/18 "Ask Amy")
LETTER: I have lifelong buddy in his 50s. He had a few emotional/family/divorce issues a decade ago and he basically checked out of life. He stopped maintaining his home and business and let his health go. There were years of dysfunctional behavior, borderline hoarding, a bad diet, a disastrous relationship — all of these things overwhelmed him.
During that period, I listened and offered support and advice. Two years ago, he announced he was going to turn things around. He isn’t making much progress and is making some seriously bad decisions. Luckily, he’s financially secure, with a recent large inheritance and no major financial worries. Now our weekly calls have evolved into hours of him either droning on about how hard he’s working and how smart he is to overcome these self-inflicted problems or complaining about how hard it is to get out of the hole that he dug.
I recommend a solution, and then ask him not to complain.
If I continue to offer advice or provide feedback, he gets mad or hangs up on me. Recently he told me he just wants me to provide emotional support. He wants me to listen. But his behavior screams: “I need help.”
How do I bite my tongue to support a guy with a proven history of dysfunction with a know-it-all attitude, who seems unable to deal with day-to-day life and who lacks the self-awareness to see he’s the common denominator in all of his self-inflicted problems?
I want to help but don’t want to listen to him complain.
Amy's (correct) assessment: homeboy is a narcissistic bore. Skillz knows how to solve the problem...
SKILLZ SAYS: What complicates advising you: you want to continue this friendship.
WHAT do YOU get out of this friendship? This clown is a walking, talking sedative. He is never going to change. He is just going to get on his knees and emotionally vomit on you as often as you're willing to hold his hair back. He is dysfunctional. Giving normal advice to this guy is as pointless as giving normal advice to a goat. YOU CANNOT HELP HIM BECAUSE HE DOESN'T THINK HE'S THE PROBLEM.
Apparently, you sitting there absorbing hours of drivel weekly is all the "help" he wants from you, and as long as he has that, he won't ever seek REAL solutions to his problems. Understandably, you're sick of it. So here's what you do if you truly want to help him and spare yourself these agonizing discussions:
Declare your love for him.
Your use of the word "buddy" says you're likely a guy, and assuming you're both straight, this should make him fairly uncomfortable with talking to you. The next time he calls, going on and on about the latest pyramid scheme he fell for or how that random bus passenger he took in stole from him, sob quietly. Even a self-centered ass like this will wonder what's up.
That's when you admit that your long talks are the highlights of each week. That you've grown so close since his divorce. That no one cares for him like you do. That you picture his face each time you and your wife perform nooky. You were scared to say anything because his mail-order bride would cause problems.
Part of him will think, "Of course he loves me. I'm SO great!" But by and large, he will get more and more uncomfortable—especially as you subtlly whisper things like, "It's so sexy when you blame others" and "Every time I pass your house those 10-foot weeds make me hard down there." Basically any of his crappy traits/behaviors. He will soon avoid you, and be so affected that he'll repair everything that could possibly attract you to him. You're free of boredom, he's helped, WIN! You're welcome.