more about: relationships

Welcome to the Family. Say Goodbye to Your Perfume

A reader named IowaMama wrote to say her future sister-in-law is giving her headaches. Luckily, it’s not a personality clash; it’s simply a case of too much perfume. “At least two different perfumes are part of her daily grooming routine,” IowaMama wrote. “I have a very sensitive sense of smell, to the point that her beauty products make me nauseous […]

Read More

What Do You Call a Man Who Gossips About His Mother?

“Other people is the world’s most fascinating subject,” according to the author Joseph Epstein. In his new book, “Gossip,” Epstein argues that it’s human nature to tell stories about each other. He even defends gossip, for its power to uncover the truth or arm us with information we may need to know. Of course, Epstein acknowledges that gossip can be […]

Read More

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? Someone You Don’t Know. Surprise!

“Occasionally, when I invite friends to lunch or dinner, they invite another person along without speaking to me about it first,”  a reader named Carrie wrote recently. “At times, I have something personal I want to share or discuss,” Carrie wrote, adding that she wonders if it is rude to invite someone else without asking. “Or is this the new […]

Read More

A Lesson for Teachers? How Not to Use Cell Phones

School districts around the country, concerned that teachers can get too cozy with students on the Internet or when communicating by cell phone, are making new rules to prohibit contact. In some places, Facebook messages are a no-no, the New York Times reported yesterday. Other school administrators have outlawed text messages – or any conversation conducted on a cell phone. Citing […]

Read More

Three French Hens, Two Turtledoves and … An Ugly Knitted Scarf

‘Tis the season for receiving handmade gifts you wish you never knew existed. Here is one reader’s situation: “One Christmas, my mother in law knitted me a scarf…. “It sounds mean, but I cannot fathom wearing it in public and she has never seen me wear it (because it’s pretty much never seen daylight),” wrote BodealaMode.  “Am I entitled to my […]

Read More

‘Tis the Season for Office Holiday Parties

Rule No. 1: Wear underwear. Rule No. 2: Don’t flash it while you’re dancing wildly on top of the receptionist’s desk. You might think anyone who works in an office—as opposed to those who got fired this year for behaving inappropriately in an office setting—already knows these rules.  But they’re among the Wall Street Journal’s suggestions for navigating the holiday […]

Read More

Pardon My Bed Bugs

What if you’re about to host a big family gathering and a few days before the event, one of the guests sends this email: “GUESS WHAT?!  We discovered bed bugs in our apartment this morning.” Happy holidays, indeed.  There I was the other day, setting the dining room table for 16, when I got the news that two guests were […]

Read More

Anonymous Online

Debate: Is it important to protect people’s rights to comment anonymously online? Or should  commenters use their real names? Both sides make good arguments, as you can see from this week’s “Sunday Dialog” in the New York Times. Reasons to Require Names: 1. Cyberbullies. Anonymous comments are more likely to be “hate-filled and inflammatory.” 2. Responsibility. Sites that allow comments have the right […]

Read More

Would Your Mother Approve of That Comment You Just Posted Online?

Whenever I get homesick for Northern California, I visit virtually by reading the local newspaper online. I love how so many of the small-town stories that dominate the news make that part of the country sound like a place Garrison Keillor might feel at home. In today’s paper, for instance, I enjoyed the usual reports of high school sports scores, along […]

Read More

My Friend is Welcome Here. Her boyfriend? Not So Much.

This week’s reader dilemma comes from Galpal12, who wrote, “An old friend wants to visit and has asked if she and her partner can stay with me. My friend and her boyfriend have a long history of breakups. … “My husband and I don’t appreciate the way he treats her and have lost respect for him. I don’t mind that she […]

Read More