Dear AnnieĀ® from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Mon, 18 Jun 2018 07:44:00 -0700 Dear AnnieĀ® from Creators Syndicate dfac5a232fac046812e6f82ee78ff867 The Kids Decision for 06/18/2018 Mon, 18 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: How does one know whether she wants children? For my whole life, I haven't been sure, but I figured I'd know eventually. Now I'm in my late 20s and not any closer to making up my mind.</p> <p>I'm afraid I'd regret it if I didn't have kids, but I've never particularly wanted them, either. Don't get me wrong; I am sure that if I did have them, I would love them more than anything &#8212; but that also scares me, because it would mean focusing less on my career. And honestly, when I try to imagine the future, my career is the first thing that comes to mind. I have plans to start my own business within the next five years. My work excites me and fulfills me. I also love my current lifestyle &#8212; taking spontaneous trips and trying new hobbies.<p>Updated: Mon Jun 18, 2018</p> 6b1c317aab19490ff4d188f202c8b317 Unwanted in the Workplace for 06/17/2018 Sun, 17 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I am not a fan at all of potlucks at work. First of all, I think it is rude to ask employees who have worked all day to bring food into work the next day. Secondly, I am concerned about the food that some people bring to work. Is it old? Has it been prepared in a hygienic environment? I feel that companies should have food delivered to their employees and not burden the employees with buying food, preparing food and dragging large slow cookers and trays of food into work. When the potluck circumstances arise, I think it would be best for employees to share the expense and have the food delivered. I am hoping others in the workplace see this and realize that a lot of people do not want to be burdened with the potluck ordeal. Could it be that I am just not a team player? Please advise. &#8212; Potlucked Out</p> <p>Dear Potlucked Out: There's a simple social contract for potlucks: Bring food if you want to eat; don't eat if you don't bring food. They're optional by definition, so next time, opt out. You might find that a few of your co-workers follow suit. You probably aren't the only one who doesn't enjoy going home after a long day at the office only to do more work in the kitchen.<p>Updated: Sun Jun 17, 2018</p> ba6ef3a0070aabea27e66a5ae3c62e60 Friend Socializes With the 'Other Woman' for 06/16/2018 Sat, 16 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: Not long ago, I got out of a relationship with an ex who was sometimes physically abusive to me. It was a nasty relationship with an even nastier breakup. And though I can now look back at it as a blessing in disguise, I can't deny the fact that it broke my heart and soul into a million pieces and has left a lot of emotional scar tissue. Anyway, a close friend of mine, "Pam," recently mentioned that she sees my ex and his girlfriend (the woman he was cheating on me with) fairly often and is on friendly terms with both of them. She even told me that she and this girl have had several one-on-one conversations about how they would like to be friends but can't because of me. It was bordering on accusatory; I felt as if I was supposed to thank her.</p> <p>Annie, I would never put someone in a position to choose one friend over another. But Pam did not know either of these people before this. In fact, she helped pick up the pieces and put me back together after the relationship blowup. I just don't understand why she would actively grow friendlier and friendlier with my ex and his girlfriend. I told her that I was confused and hurt by this information, and she just didn't seem to get it at all and thought I was being overdramatic.<p>Updated: Sat Jun 16, 2018</p> c291d933d64c1bd6247e6b86483c8919 Boyfriend Enables Irresponsible Son for 06/15/2018 Fri, 15 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I've been dating "Grant" for a few months, though we have known each other for 20-plus years. He has two kids, ages 25 and 21, and I feel that they run all over him. Their mother died about five years ago. She and Grant had been divorced for a few years before that. His youngest son, "John," lives with him, and Grant got the boy a job at his company. I feel that he needs to stop treating the kid as if he were 15.</p> <p>Grant buys John beer, cigarettes and anything he needs. He even pays his cellphone bill. Grant says he tells John that he has to pay a certain amount per week, but half the time he doesn't get it. John throws temper tantrums if he doesn't get his way, and Grant always gives in.<p>Updated: Fri Jun 15, 2018</p> ad0aebc66f1fb807c0910d159c4bf8b3 Repondez Right Now for 06/14/2018 Thu, 14 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: You get lots of questions about weddings after the fact. Here's one that's before the problem happens so you can advise us. We're getting married in June. We sent out about 100 invitations, each with a note requesting a reply by June 1. So far, we've gotten only a handful of responses. As I'm writing to you, there's still plenty of time, but what do we do come mid-June with people who haven't responded one way or the other? Is it tactful to contact people, maybe pretending that we think their invitations got lost in the mail? If we do contact people, should we call or write a letter or email or what? Obviously, the caterer needs to know the number of people, and we need to decide on the seating arrangements. &#8212; Soon-to-Be Wed</p> <p>Dear Soon-to-Be Wed: Congratulations on your nearing nuptials! It's customary to start going down the guest list and calling anyone whose response you still haven't received two days after the deadline. (So if there's anyone you haven't heard from by now, it's time to get dialing.) Take note of guests' meal preferences so you can get that information to the caterer ASAP, though the guests should still mail back their replies, too.<p>Updated: Thu Jun 14, 2018</p> 3396f8860c5f900dc36d6f867397704f Brother Butts In for 06/13/2018 Wed, 13 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I am feeling so desperate, angry and frustrated. I deal with depression, and my brother is certainly not helping matters. I am 65. I cannot do a lot of lifting because of back problems, so I wait for my grandkids to come and help me when they can, which is not so often as I'd like.</p> <p>My brother thinks I am a hoarder. He tells me that I have obsessive-compulsive disorder and that I need to deal with my problems. My brother is an alcoholic but does go to Alcoholics Anonymous and has not imbibed for over 20 years. Every time we get together, he is rude and sarcastic and will not stop the conversation when I tell him that he is not my counselor and that my issues are my business and not his.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 13, 2018</p> 2651d24442382e83c3587d1d2026d078 When Others Jump to Conclusions for 06/12/2018 Tue, 12 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: This concerns unwanted reactions by others to my husband's and my medical problems. My husband has balance and coordination problems, for which we have been seeking answers for years. He sometimes stumbles or falls. I have experienced a degeneration in tendons of both hands and have been through surgery seven times. I'm wearing a cast as I write. Each prior surgery corrected a specific problem, but I have no answer for why my tendons keep breaking down with normal use of my hands. Three siblings of mine and some cousins also have had surgery for hand problems similar to mine.</p> <p>Two questions for you. How can I relieve the distress of those who show sincere concern for our medical problems? And how can I kindly discourage the "blame the victim" mentality behind ignorant questions by those who doubt us and jump to wrong conclusions? Unfortunately, people who see my husband fall or see me in a hand brace feel very free about telling me, for example, to stop hitting my husband. The idea is so ludicrous that I almost always laugh. My husband and I don't fight physically. If we disagree, we take time to cool off. Then we forgive each other and reason through our conflict. We have been married for 45 years and still consider ourselves to be best friends. &#8212; K.F.<p>Updated: Tue Jun 12, 2018</p> 864427aafd8a054ad73bb9c443b64f82 Behavior When Getting a Lyft for 06/11/2018 Mon, 11 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: About a month ago, a truck with an attached trailer lost control while on the highway and smashed into my sedan. Luckily, everyone was OK. However, my car is currently in the shop for major repairs. I'm working through some fear of driving, and I didn't want to pay the insurance on a car I might not use, so I decided to forgo getting a rental. Instead, my insurance is covering the cost of ride-hailing services. My son introduced me to some apps, and I've been using them to get to and from work and other places a few days a week.</p> <p>Most drivers have been very pleasant. However, I am perplexed by the etiquette, and the internet hasn't been much help. Sometimes the driver will motion for me to sit up front. Sometimes I get no acknowledgment until I'm already climbing in the back of the car. Sometimes I open the front door and there's a bag in the way, which leads to a shuffle, with the driver trying to move the bag and me trying to get in the back, and I end up feeling nervous. Sometimes the driver is chatty when I'm in no mood to chat; I don't want to be rude, so I'll exchange some small talk. Sometimes I'd like to talk but the driver seems to want quiet, so I don't talk because I don't want to be rude. My son says this is all normal, but I'm tired of feeling anxious in the cars. Are there ways to show that I'm interested in talking or not? &#8212; New to Ride-Hailing<p>Updated: Mon Jun 11, 2018</p> afe190b8398473d453c6c0c6a162d592 Space Needed for 06/10/2018 Sun, 10 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I am in a predicament. My best friend is also my neighbor, and I don't know how to tell him I would prefer a call or text before he shows up in our house. It's a daily occurrence. Sometimes I don't even get into my house after work before he is here to hang out, chat, find out what we are having for dinner and just be here with us. I love him like a brother, and we are close, but it's becoming such an issue that I cringe when I get home from work and find him already waiting for me in my home. After a day of work, sometimes I like to just relax for a while and be with my wife and children. My wife is tired of this, too.</p> <p>I know he is lonely because his wife works early and stays late, but there aren't any boundaries. And I know that if I were to tell him I need space, he would be hurt and stop coming over altogether. How do I handle this? &#8212; Need Space in the Desert<p>Updated: Sun Jun 10, 2018</p> 7195110468aa614f34327b1024371465 Snot What You Should Do for 06/09/2018 Sat, 09 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: My good friend has a habit that makes it difficult for her fellow diners when she is out to eat. She frequently blows her nose at the table and places her dirty tissues in a pile on the table. If cloth napkins are being used, she has no problem blowing her nose in it. She has chronic bronchitis, so it is an ongoing problem.</p> <p>She also takes bites of others' food with her used utensils without asking. She is easily offended, and I find it difficult to address these issues with her. How can I get her to stop this behavior without incurring her wrath? &#8212; Grossed Out<p>Updated: Sat Jun 09, 2018</p> cd32fa5a36aae0e18e1cd201217af14a Wisdom for Couples Considering Marriage for 06/08/2018 Fri, 08 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: Wedding season is upon us. I have been married for over 30 years, and I would like to share some wisdom and hard truths with any prospective brides or grooms.</p> <p>The man or woman you are marrying will not change. Many things are hard-wired by the time we are in our late teens. To avoid a lifetime of regret and disappointment, please pay attention to the warning signs and your gut instincts.<p>Updated: Fri Jun 08, 2018</p> a351adf2bb44106bcbbfc3a048a0714c Lessons From a Dog for 06/07/2018 Thu, 07 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I wrote this list after saying goodbye to my beloved dog, Capra, and thought you might share it with readers.</p> <p>10 Things My Dog Taught Me<p>Updated: Thu Jun 07, 2018</p> 263efbbecac79ac2620827cb06450e4f Son Has Yet to Pay Back Loan for 06/06/2018 Wed, 06 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: A few years ago, one of my sons needed funds for support during some difficult times. I explained that I would help but that I needed the funds to be returned. His spouse was checking other avenues to gather it.</p> <p>It has now been over three years since the loan was given. In that time, they have purchased a second vehicle and even gone on a vacation to Disney World.<p>Updated: Wed Jun 06, 2018</p> 4ab3a37b1d14d034c7b5eb8f47f06819 Parents in Decline for 06/05/2018 Tue, 05 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie. My octogenarian parents recently visited my family for two weeks. They stayed in our house for the duration of their stay. My three sons are all preteens and were very excited to spend time with their grandparents. My husband and I are always a bit more anxious to have them stay. My parents were present and financially supportive throughout my childhood but were emotionally disengaged.</p> <p>Over the past few years, I've noticed that their speed has been slowing and their health has been declining. With this slowing, their presence has also become more disengaged. In fact, they generally spent the trip sitting in our family room watching the news. They would only occasionally leave the house, and even then, it was often just for a quick trip to the supermarket or to get lunch. They didn't join me for school drop-off, pickup, activities or sports games.<p>Updated: Tue Jun 05, 2018</p> d44b813d29c8ed62df0f34e152a88b9b Fridge-Raiding Roommate for 06/04/2018 Mon, 04 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I'm a recent college graduate, and I just moved into my first real apartment (as in, not campus housing). I found my current roommate, "Stella," through a friend of a friend. She is very outgoing and laid-back. My problem is that I think she assumes everyone is as laid-back as she is. This mainly comes up regarding our food. Stella keeps eating all the snacks and drinks I buy for myself. Several times after I've gotten home from a long day of work and gone to the fridge to get out leftovers from the night before, I have found the container empty. (The empty container left in the fridge really adds insult to injury.)</p> <p>I've tried bringing this up with her several times by asking, "Hey, have you seen my (missing food item)?" And she always answers as if she did nothing wrong, with something to the effect of, "Oh, yeah, I was hungry, so I dipped into that last night." She usually follows that up by saying I should feel free to have some of her food. I always polititely decline. I really would prefer that we each just eat our own food. Am I being too uptight? How can I get her to stop doing this? &#8212; Refrigerator Robberies<p>Updated: Mon Jun 04, 2018</p> 72589b8e5e46277beb03131eeb2b127d No Kids for Us, Thanks for 06/03/2018 Sun, 03 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: My husband and I have made the decision to refrain from having children. People are very nosy, always asking when we will have kids, as we have been married for six years and I am 32. When I tell them we have chosen not to have children, which I consider a decent response, I get negative feedback. Some say, "You know, you should give your husband at least one child." Others say, "Well, having children is the best part of life. You'll definitely be missing out."</p> <p>How could I explain our choice in such a way as to elicit a simple "OK"? I am tired of validating my personal decisions every time I meet someone new. Thoughts? &#8212; Child-Free and Tired of Judgment<p>Updated: Sun Jun 03, 2018</p> 5b6360787725a5bbc620dd585a678ba9 Kids and Screen Time for 06/02/2018 Sat, 02 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: Last night, my husband and I had our date night at a local Italian restaurant. Sitting next to us were four high school girls eating dinner. All four of them were on their phones. It appeared to me that two were texting each other while the other two were looking at social media and commenting on other people. They didn't seem to be making eye contact or having any type of meaningful conversation.</p> <p>As a mother of two middle school-aged daughters, this scene bothered me a great deal. I said to my husband, "How do we make sure this is not our daughters in five years?" He reminded me that we should talk openly with them about the importance of keeping your phone away during mealtime. We, as parents, need to be very mindful of our usage of phones and tablets. We agreed that if we don't want our girls constantly on screens, then we need to reduce our time at the screens. We both thought about how much screen time we have. We have a lot of screen time after the kids go to bed, when we both take out our iPads to read our books. But sometimes our kids will come downstairs and say, "Mom, Dad, why are you on the iPad?" We explain that we are reading books, but all they see is the screen glow reflected from our faces.<p>Updated: Sat Jun 02, 2018</p> 1981cac9ade20b492b22109f4e0c3312 Teen Not Accepted by Parents for 06/01/2018 Fri, 01 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I am a healthy, strong teenager who goes to a great school. I have a roof over my head and food on the table, but there is one problem: I'm transgender, and my parents refuse to accept me. I came out to them about three years ago as gay, before I fully understood what was going on in my head. They told me how strongly they felt it was wrong and that they would not accept me. A year later, when I realized that what I was feeling was a desire to just be one of the guys, I knew I couldn't tell them.</p> <p>I started going by a new name at school, presenting myself as a male there and trying my best to hide it from them, but as all things do at this time in your life, it found its way to my parents. They confronted me about it and told me how upset they were, and ever since, they have been making sure I know that at home, I will never be a boy. Sometimes I have dreams in which they finally accept me, and when I wake up and realize I've been dreaming, I start crying. This has worsened the depression I have struggled with for about half my life, and meeting with my therapist isn't helping very much. I don't know what to do. &#8212; Disconcerted in Distress<p>Updated: Fri Jun 01, 2018</p> f89227462ffe3e6593e30686a44701a5 Loving Grandmother Kept at Arm's Length for 05/31/2018 Thu, 31 May 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I'm very frustrated, and I would like your opinion, please.</p> <p>My daughter-in-law doesn't seem to realize that some of the things she does really hurt me. I've always been there for my son and daughter-in-law. I try very hard to be a good mother-in-law. I never interfere. I never show up without calling, and I hardly ever ask them for help because I know how busy they are.<p>Updated: Thu May 31, 2018</p> e3956b2ed4073c573bd812f21d1f531c Coming to Terms With Getting Older for 05/30/2018 Wed, 30 May 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: My 30th birthday is just around the corner, and it's bothering me more than I'd like to admit. I know that right about now, people older than I am are probably reading this and feeling insulted and/or rolling their eyes. I don't mean any offense. I've just never wanted to grow up. Even when I was a kid, birthdays bummed me out. (OK, I liked the presents and cake.)</p> <p>A few months ago, I noticed crow's-feet starting at the corner of one eye. They don't bother me for cosmetic reasons. It's just that seeing wrinkles reminds me I'm getting older and time is passing more and more quickly. And that stresses me out!<p>Updated: Wed May 30, 2018</p>