BE Writes: I just attended a wedding reception where the bride gave instructions that no smoking was allowed anywhere in the building. Smokers were to go outside if they wanted to smoke.
It was a very cold, rainy, stormy night. There was someone posted at the front door, in the lobby, and in the bathroom to make sure nobody smoked.
I respect the bride's wishes to have her wedding smoke free. I do object to guards being posted and not allowed to smoke in an empty room or lobby. I felt this was an insult and that consideration for all guests should apply to smokers as well as non-smokers. The guard in the bathroom was the final straw and I took fifty dollars out of a very generous gift. What is your opinion?
B Responds: We are the only country that I know of where intolerance is displayed like a badge of honor and, obviously, the enforcement of it has become an obsession. Other countries make accommodations for smokers and non-smokers. It appears to work well. It does not in the United States.
The blessing may have been that she did not post someone at the food table to keep any fat people from eating too much cake. This may be a sign of what is coming when one feels so much responsibility that guards are posted to enforce rules.
I, too, do not appreciate intolerance. I would have been tempted to enforce my feelings by not giving a gift period; however, that brings up another point. Intolerance brings further hostilities and it can go on and on.
If we each would accept responsibility for our own behavior only, and display some tolerance for others, then we might truly be a kinder, gentler society. As is, the gap widens between those who do no wrong and the rest of us, it seems.
I Like Her!:
TA Writes: I work with one lady that I am really starting to like a lot. We are becoming good friends and do a lot of things together at work.
My problem is the few people that are jealous of our friendship and will do anything to keep us as only friends. I think she would like to become more than friends if not for these few people making her feel miserable.
Should I just ask her out or just let nature take its course?
B Responds: Yes, ask her out. Perhaps then you can see one another where others can't interfere. Too, you might become less obvious at work if you are able to share after work.
RF Writes: What do you think would be a good gift for my boyfriend for our six-month anniversary?
B Responds: My authority, Miss Manners, says the proper thing to remember about gifts while dating is that you should not give or get anything that is not suitable to return should you break up. With that in mind, then items such as books, records, wallets and key chains are considered gifts acceptable while dating.
NS Writes: My son and his wife live in another state. A few months ago, he called very upset because she was cheating on him. We had not heard from her in a long time.
Then, very unexpectedly, I got a nasty email from my daughter-in-law. She says I am responsible for their problem, which is my son's interest in pornography. She feels it is my fault as my husband had it in our home (out of sight but our son found it) and I turned a blind eye to it.
This has really hurt me. I feel my daughter-in-law wants to turn blame away from herself for her affair and somehow it is my fault. My son has been going to therapy for months now. I haven't heard from her and I've sent two apologies, so what do I do?
B Responds: It is the easy way out to blame someone else for anything, and it doesn't solve anything. I feel you have been too kind here as I would not have apologized to her. While not being unkind to her, there is no way that I would respond to or accept responsibility for any of my children's behaviors. Just as she chooses to be disrespectful to you (and to her husband obviously by having an affair), he too chooses what he will do and I would not feel I had anything to do with either of their behaviors; you should not either.
I do not believe in excuses. Who cares who is to blame anyway? The point is that both of them need to fix what is broken at their house and with each other. You can't do that. As parents, we can only accept whatever is done by whomever. You just proved that by accepting her foolishness, the accusatory email.
PR Writes: I have been having problems with my four-year-old. At night, she does not want to go to sleep. She will scream and cry and throw fits for hours on end. I have no idea what to do anymore. Do you have any suggestions?
B Responds: I would almost bet that anything I could suggest that you have already tried. It is a difficult and common problem. For expert advice, I recommend the online site called Parenthoodweb.com at http://www.parenthoodweb.com/. This online site has a search field to use.
The main thing with anything that you do with a child is to be consistent in how you are handling it. Consistency and persistency seem to be a parent's keywords. The hardest thing to do when you are completely frustrated and exhausted.
We have had many in our family who had this problem. One solved it by one parent always going to bed with the youngster and then getting back up when the child went to sleep. The child is now age five and they still do it but without all the drama and trauma. Another gave up and the child slept with the parents until starting school. How they did that I will never know. The child, now up in age, is embarrassed if you mention it. Neither seem harmed by what either set of parents did to solve the problem.
Once you have ruled out that it is not something they fear or that can be changed about the room or event, then it is back to consistent and persistent behavior on the parents part. One day you will look back and wonder how you managed to live through it and the child will be embarrassed about it. Both, parents and child, do live through it, as unbelievable as it seems now.
ST Writes: I have spent hours trying to find the right words to tell a new boyfriend that I like him a lot but I can't stand his wet, sloppy kisses. I don't want to offend him, but I have been avoiding him because of this. Any suggestions?
B Responds: You could take a large handkerchief with you the next time you meet with him. When he kisses you, pull away and say "that one (kiss) was too sloppy" and then wipe your mouth with the handkerchief, continuing with "let's try it again. I don't like sloppy kisses, do you?" and then try it again. The art of doing all this while acting spontaneous too would have to be done skillfully, but would surely help and even save the relationship. It sounds as if it is worth a try at this point or the relationship is over. Good luck!
GR Writes: I met this really sweet girl at work. We instantly became the best of friends. The problem is that she is 16 and I am 21 years of age. Recently, she has confessed that she really likes me and would like to pursue a relationship. I have tried to make her see that there is a huge age gap and that I don't think it would work out. Recently she shared something with me about a very personal experience she had with a boy. I was surprised, but it made me realize that I too have strong feelings for her. I am really confused. I need advice.
B Responds: You will not like my advice, but the bottom line is that she is simply "jail bait" for you. At the very least, she has the potential to be, even if you have the consent of her parents to see, be with and/or become close to her. You would be wise to never forget this until she is older.
You probably cannot even imagine the troubles you could have if you are not very careful in how you handle this attraction. She's simply too young for most everything, including you.
WA Writes: I have fallen in love with a man online, and he feels the same way about me. The problem is I'm married and so is he. He recently left his wife and now has another girlfriend. He wanted me to leave too at the time, but the time just wasn't right.
He still tells me that he loves me and he wishes he would have waited for me, but now that he has moved on, he is going to try and find happiness with this other woman. Should I just let him go or try to fight and get him back?
B Responds: You have me completely confused, especially about timing. No, you should not pursue a man who says he wants to make a life with another woman. You are married. The timing still appears not to be good.
Marriage does not guarantee you to be exempt from or immune to meeting someone that brings out feelings of love or sexual curiosity. A person, however, who is committed to someone and to a marriage makes every attempt to avoid these situations and to avoid those who would be a threat to the health of the marriage. That's called doing what is right.
You have an opportunity to do what is right here and to avoid being just another statistic. I hope you take it by concentrating on your marriage and forgetting about this online fantasy. The expression "a bird in hand is worth two in the bush" may be applicable for all in this situation. Even your online fantasy is more or less saying that; will you?
KM Writes: When the wedding is cancelled four days before it is scheduled to take place, who calls the guests? Is it the bride or the bride's Mother?
B Responds: Both the bride and the bride's Mother can do it, plus if you have very many guests to call, then you can get the help of the bridal party to contact everyone by telephone. There is no need to say why or to offer a reason, just the information that the event will not take place is required.
If it is a permanent cancellation, then you should return any gifts you received. It is also considered polite to reimburse your wedding party, if possible, if their required clothing has already been paid for.
DT Writes: How do you tell a neighbor his dog keeps you awake at night?
B Responds: You simply walk over to their house, knock on the door, and then say you are concerned about their dog and decided to just come and ask "Is something wrong with him/her? I couldn't sleep a wink last night because of the noise. Is something wrong with him/her or bothering him/her in the night? Is he/she keeping you awake too?" You act very concerned, say it very nicely and give them an opportunity to know how you feel and to correct it. No one should be offended by someone who is concerned about their dog. It is usually not what we say that complicates communication, but how we say it. Say it with concern for their beloved pet.