A complaint about the tab
Over the holidays my wife and two young children were with my wife’s family (her mom, dad, sister, brother-in-law and their two children).
My sister-in-law insisted that we order take-out instead of having a homecooked meal. We ordered in, and she paid for the meal.
Days later my father-inlaw suggested that he and I should give her money for the meal ($47 each). I’m annoyed by this for a few reasons: I have purchased several more expensive takeout meals at family events and have never asked for (or been offered) compensation.
This is also an example of an increasingly frequent situation where my father-inlaw effectively dictates how my wife and I spend our money. For my son’s birthday, he offered to cover half of the cost of music lessons. It was a lovely idea, but it also saddled us with an additional expense (I ended up paying for all of the lessons).
In my view, if he felt my sister-in-law needed to be repaid, he could have made the point at the time of the meal, or he could have chosen to take care of it himself.
This is also an extension of a perceived difference in economic position between my wife and I, and her sister’s family.
Am I just being petty and cheap? Son-in-law
Dear Son-in-law: Your father-in-law’s suggestions may sound like commandments to you, but you are an adult and you can make a choice to get on board or respond respectfully: “Thanks for the suggestion. This is generous of you. But I’ve picked up the check any number of times; my theory is that these things even out in the end.”
Because it seems you can actually afford to be more generous, you should choose the path that make you to feel best about yourself. You can learn to tolerate this expectation (and come off as magnanimous and generous) or you can politely push back and tolerate the uncertainty of wondering whether you are being stingy.
Dear Amy: I recently ran into an old friend. We’ve known each other since childhood, and during our years of friendship, our level of closeness fluctuates.
Over the past 10 years we fell out of touch, due to family complications, a return to school and a divorce (on my part), and work (on her part).
I was happy to see her recently and she seemed happy to see me. Because we were both in a rush, I asked if she was on Facebook and she said yes. I promised to contact her that way.
When I went to her Facebook page, I noticed her “add friend” button was grayed out. I “waved” at her through messenger, which is all I can do without a response from her.
I have heard nothing back, and she has not attempted to contact me. I’m not sure if I’m being snubbed, and don’t know what to do next. In the Gray
Dear In the Gray: Your friend’s “add friend” button might be inactive because of her own privacy settings. She might not realize that you are trying to add her as a friend. She might not realize that you are out there in the cyber fog, waving.
Give this one more try. Send her a card or an email (if possible). Say, “It was so great to run into you again! Here’s my contact information in case you want to reconnect.” And then leave the connecting up to her.
Send questions to [email protected] amydickinson.com.