Dear AnnieĀ® from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Thu, 23 May 2019 22:44:10 -0700 Dear AnnieĀ® from Creators Syndicate 61a47ef554a9fca2cfd97ff5bf37be60 Notes on a College Admissions Scandal II for 05/24/2019 Fri, 24 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Readers: We were overwhelmed with letters about the college admissions scandal, and this is a continuation of yesterday's column, filled with questions, criticism and praise from my many talented and brilliant readers.</p> <p>Dear Annie: I usually feel quite comfortable letting other people have their own opinions. But you were terribly off in your assessment of the college admissions scandal. Those parents harmed everyone in their behavior. Simply requiring that they pay more money to right their wrongs would be no punishment or deterrent. Money was part of why they believed themselves to be above everyone else.<p>Updated: Fri May 24, 2019</p> f13f3ac9e70e4d9a2bb4061894463485 Notes on a College Admissions Scandal I for 05/23/2019 Thu, 23 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Readers: Many of you have strong opinions about the college admissions scandal, and because there were so many thoughtful replies, I am devoting a few columns to reprinting some of the feedback to my proposed solution of fining the parents to pay for scholarships:</p> <p>Dear Annie: Loved your answer to "Friends in Disagreement." But there was one point that wasn't mentioned by you or "Friends" that I think is very important and not being taught enough. As parents, one of our biggest jobs is to teach our children that they need to work for, and earn, what they want. Give them that sense of pride, accomplishment and confidence. The message these parents sent to their kids was, "We know you can't make it on your own, so we'll buy it for you." &#8212; Earn What You Get</p> <p>Dear Annie: Amen, Sister! I had to write to you as this is one of the first letters that I have read of yours, and there have been hundreds, that I totally agree with. You were spot on. Those parents need to pay extremely huge fines and receive suspended sentences with probation. Also, money to the universities, as you suggested, should be devoted exclusively for those less fortunate. What a great response. &#8212; Just Another Christian<p>Updated: Thu May 23, 2019</p> f611954a09155f96e2dad9b761fa9756 Nonexistent Monsters Have Mom Missing Sleep for 05/22/2019 Wed, 22 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie. I have a 6-year-old daughter who won't go to sleep on her own. She has an innate fear of staying alone in her room. We have tried every way we can think to motivate her to feel comfortable. We reassure her that she's safe, that we're in the room next door, that every night she sleeps safely, that we preform monster checks. My daughter was a good sleeper until a few months ago, when she started to develop nighttime anxiety. Now she forces one of us to sleep in bed with her. </p> <p>My other two children are great sleepers. They will close the door and go right to sleep through the night after family reading. Both children have been supportive of our daughter and have encouraged her to sleep on her own. When we have babysitters, she forces the sitter to stay with her and won't fall asleep until late. Frequently, sitters will text me saying they can't get her to stay in bed. <p>Updated: Wed May 22, 2019</p> 1dbea0efaffee634a91a69436852cc0c Pain Causing Short Temper for 05/21/2019 Tue, 21 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I have chronic back pain thanks to sciatica. I chose to treat it with physical therapy and exercise, and I take muscle relaxers and or anti-inflammatory drugs when the pain really flares up. I chose to forego all painkillers, be they opium-based or synthetic. The problem is that the pain can make me very impatient and snappy. I have to put up with a lot at work, and on the street and with my neighbors. But my mother and father's behavior makes it difficult for me to be patient. They both talk down to me, interrupt me constantly, question and criticize personal decisions, can't wait their turn, etc. They don't do this to my siblings, only to me.</p> <p>During time when the pain is flaring up, I avoid them because I don't have the strength or patience to deal with them. I make up an excuse, usually that I'm working, although that isn't always enough. My father will continue arguing over the phone long after I've made it clear that I'm not coming. I don't see them much because of this (not to mention other relatives at family occasions), but I don't lose much. Nobody in my family does anything for me. My folks paid for my siblings' weddings, law school, child care for the grandchildren, but since I ask for nothing, I owe nothing. I might also mention that my mother was always angry at me when I was a kid, which I later found out was from a back injury she never mentioned.<p>Updated: Tue May 21, 2019</p> 248d9eb001ff4858f5573dbc599d0d5e When Friends Fill Void Left By Family for 05/20/2019 Mon, 20 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: My husband and I moved to another state following our retirements a few years ago. We moved to a resort town six hours away from my brother "Billy" and his wife, "Patty." We encouraged them to visit, but they gave one excuse after another. Billy eventually told me that they were "just homebodies" who don't like to travel. </p> <p>My husband, "Bob," has been quite ill. In the last year, he was hospitalized six times and had to be ventilated five times. Billy was aware of my husband's dire condition but did not once call or text to offer any support. I thank God for our friends who supported us through visits, calls, messages, emails, prayers, etc. <p>Updated: Mon May 20, 2019</p> 3a140180a028466b807c67a9eef75bb6 Make New Friends But Keep the Old for 05/19/2019 Sun, 19 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I'm having a hard time trying to keep in touch with my boarding school friends. We went our separate ways after graduating high school and were adamant about keeping in touch. Lately, I feel like we are drifting apart because I'm always the one having to reach out. And whenever I try to see if we can FaceTime or talk, they come up with excuses. I guess I'm frustrated because I'm always making the effort &#8212; from reaching out to being the one to fly up and visit. I miss back in high school when we'd always hang out. &#8212; Boarding School Friendships</p> <p>Dear Boarding School Friendships: You're a good friend, putting in extra effort to keep in touch. But all that extra effort is making you sore. Give yourself a rest. <span class="column--highlighted-text">Go out and meet some new people: Strangers are just friends waiting to happen, after all</span>, and late adolescence and early adulthood &#8212; the period you're in now &#8212; is one of the absolute best times for forming lifelong friendships. <p>Updated: Sun May 19, 2019</p> 12dea0b22084a0368a2745ce29264130 Obit Omission for 05/18/2019 Sat, 18 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I am in my 80s and recently lost my beloved sister-in-law, who was 90. She married my brother when I was just a child, and we had been close ever since. Aside from the many things I did for her, I loved her dearly as she was the last of my ties to my brothers, who have all passed on. So that leaves me as the only one left. My problem lies with her children, with whom I was very close. I told her children what a wonderful job they did taking care of their mom. I was there during her last days, but more importantly, I was there for her after my brother's death. I took her on errands and doctors' visits, etc. My niece and nephews always tell me how much they love me, and the feeling is mutual. </p> <p>But when the obit for my sister-in-law came out, I was shocked to find that they never acknowledged me as a survivor. I was devastated. It hurt me so much to think they forgot to mention me. It would have meant so much, as a lot of my friends didn't know my former last name (the surname I shared with my sister-in-law), and so none of them knew that I, too, was in mourning. Even though they apologized for the error of omitting me, I just can't seem to get over it. This is eating at me all the time. I really do love them, but am I deluding myself? Did I think I was more important to them than I really was? I was told by one of them that they didn't think a sister-in-law was usually mentioned in obits. Really, I'm their last living aunt: How do you forget to acknowledge that person? How can this breach be fixed? &#8212; Hurting in Ohio<p>Updated: Sat May 18, 2019</p> 69f7819f7eb62c42ce1a8ee12e79304e Beyond Time to Cut the Cord for 05/17/2019 Fri, 17 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I've been in this relationship for five years now, and my boyfriend, "Steve," still puts his adult daughter, "June," before me. I'm a parent, and I understand their relationship to a certain point, but there are boundaries crossed. June is 29. Every time she's in a relationship, she ditches Steve. And then he comes venting to me about it. </p> <p>Last year, she moved out and found her own place. Steve started staying with her, but she told him he had to go, because she was pregnant and her child's father needed to be around. So then Steve moved back in with me, and in my mind he didn't come by choice; he came simply because he had nowhere else to go. That made me feel pretty awful. <p>Updated: Fri May 17, 2019</p> 61c7d8d619d493a3e151f523eee1ffed The Five-Year Itch? for 05/16/2019 Thu, 16 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I've been with my significant other for five years. We're each other's "person." I'm more comfortable with him than I've ever been with anyone else, but there's a catch. We've noticed a trend: that I'm better at taking care of myself when he's not around. It's not a conscious thing. I'm not intentionally sulking. But it seems that my depression and anxiety come out of the woodwork &#8212; I've been stable for quite a while &#8212; when I'm alone with him. When we're apart &#8212; for example, one of us goes out of town &#8212; I flourish. I'm confused by this pattern. I don't understand why someone I am so comfortable with seems to hinder my growth and well-being. He is a wonderful, loving partner. I have no complaints about how he treats me. We have awesome communication and talk about absolutely everything. And yet, a part of me feels trapped. I don't want us to break up, but maybe we're no longer a good fit. &#8212; Dating but Drifting</p> <p>Dear Dating but Drifting: Perhaps what you're feeling is the result of codependence, counterintuitive as it might sound. It's possible you only feel like you can give yourself permission to focus on your own well-being when he's not there. Check out Mental Health America's "Characteristics of Co-Dependent People" at, and see if you recognize yourself in the list of traits. <p>Updated: Thu May 16, 2019</p> 157b7cb6a857384c73cb44f599016c7e TV Tug of War for 05/15/2019 Wed, 15 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie. My husband and I have very different television interests. I tend to prefer prestige shows that require significant time and attention commitment. He tends to enjoy brainless sitcoms. He says he doesn't have the attention span to sit and watch many of the large-scale prestige shows. I feel that I'm wasting my time watching sitcoms with nonstop corny puns. </p> <p>I really wish my husband would share my interest in television. It would make it far more enjoyable if we could discuss the shows afterward. Instead, he tends to tune out and play a game on his phone. What can I do to incentivize my husband to watch my shows? &#8212; Prestige Viewing<p>Updated: Wed May 15, 2019</p> cc007e56202131cdde68ed822c19d8e9 Putting Your Best Foot (and Shoe) Forward for 05/14/2019 Tue, 14 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I've been working as professional for more than 10 years, and I'm arriving at the point in my career where I'm now responsible for spending more time meeting with clients. I'm excited for my continued growth and success, and I'm always seeking ways to grow. I have a handful of mentors who teach me, and I frequently read about management philosophy and practices. I believe that I'm helping myself through these activities.</p> <p>One of my mentors always encourages me to optimize my confidence. She believes one of the keys to becoming confident is to dress for success. She recommends to never dress casually and always wear clothes that look good and fit perfectly. This will ensure that first impressions of me are always high. Then it's up to me to be confident in my knowledge and ability to deliver that knowledge. <p>Updated: Tue May 14, 2019</p> f1491ffe4bc139b43af4844d8abb9eb5 Can't Buy Graciousness for 05/13/2019 Mon, 13 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: My oldest is about to graduate from high school, and we are celebrating with a party. We plan on having our daughter write out a thank-you card to those who give her a gift and help celebrate her big day. However, last year, at several parties we attended, there was a sign that read: "In lieu of sending thank-you notes, we will be giving a donation to a charity." Is this proper etiquette, or is it simply allowing the graduate to get out of doing what's right? Please tell us what proper thank-you etiquette is as this affects so many people every year at this time! &#8212; Unsure in Ohio</p> <p>Dear Unsure in Ohio: Sending thank-you notes and donating to charity are both great things, and one does not preclude the other. Yes, I think <span class="column--highlighted-text">these parents are missing an opportunity to instill two meaningful life lessons into their children before they go out into the world. </span>The first is that they should always express gratitude for gifts. And the second is that they can't buy their ways out of everything.<p>Updated: Mon May 13, 2019</p> 9bac7626c0ab482415c83e99f13d89ce Love Letters to Mom for 05/12/2019 Sun, 12 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: Over the years, I've read a number of beautiful Mother's Day poems and notes in Ann Lander's column. One that stood out began with something about a "one-in-a- million Mom" from her kids. It reminded me of my mom. Another one talked about a mom and dad getting ready for bed. That one hit home for me! Can you find these letters in your archives? &#8212; Sandra in St. Louis </p> <p>Dear Sandra: Of course. Here's one of my favorites: <p>Updated: Sun May 12, 2019</p> 9b748500b09f7025dd9c156a242ef263 Never Too Late to Thrive for 05/11/2019 Sat, 11 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I am an older gay man. The bullying started when I was young. The boys in the neighborhood didn't want me around because I was lousy at sports. The girls didn't want any boys around while they were playing. When I started school, it wasn't any different. Bullying increased with junior high, and high school was the worst. </p> <p>To cope, I avoided socializing with people. I didn't attend any high school functions. Consequently, I never really learned how to be around people. Later, I would usually say or do something that was frowned upon. That just made me isolate myself more. I started drinking as a coping mechanism, but of course, that was no help. My lowered inhibitions made me do stupid things, which again would alienate people, so I avoided outside contacts even more. I would drink alone, which led to legal problems. Eventually, I lost the privilege to drive. Living in a city with no public transportation means I am isolated again. That isolation also meant that I put on a lot of weight. After seeing how I looked, I lost even more confidence. The only good thing is that I've started to lose some of the excess weight because I have to walk everywhere I go. I'm still obese, but it's not as bad as it once was.<p>Updated: Sat May 11, 2019</p> b2be8b9d42d639a62ae9898bed3e717f Past the Breaking Point for 05/10/2019 Fri, 10 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I'm caught in a cycle of being too busy, tired and stressed out to ask my family for help with household chores. My husband tries, and he helps a bit, but the kids only chip in a little when I ride them. I've tried schedules, rewards and taking away privileges. But in the end, it's just easier for me to cook, set and clear the table, do the dishes, sweep and mop the floor, and on and on.</p> <p>Am I just avoiding the job of teaching my kids these things? I work full time, and they have super busy schedules. I don't want the precious time we have together to be spent arguing over chores. At the same time, I know it would help them &#8212; and me! &#8212; if they helped out more. Maybe. As I said, it seems easier if I do it instead of them bickering over who has a worse job than the other. At least then there's peace in the house.<p>Updated: Fri May 10, 2019</p> dd9a68f52fd23e04592bdf08af807371 Passionless Partner for 05/09/2019 Thu, 09 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I am in a relationship with a 71-year-old woman. I am 72. We have a lot in common and our relationship has moved toward moving in together. We have been intimate, but when we are, there is no passion on her part. Even after extensive foreplay, she has no passion. She just lies there. She never touches me and is never the aggressor. I love this woman, and she says she loves me. But she certainly doesn't know how to express it. </p> <p>She is a sweet woman who is just going through a tough financial time. I am willing to help her, but I sometimes think her involvement with me is for the financial help only. I thought she loved me, but the red flags I am getting when I try to be intimate with her are making me think I am making a mistake. <p>Updated: Thu May 09, 2019</p> 336e805d0988e2b222639b5e4b389f61 PTSD and Forgiveness for 05/08/2019 Wed, 08 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: Your recent column signed by "Blamed for Bedlam" struck a chord with me, and I'd like to share my story.</p> <p>For 60 years, my brother and I were the closest of friends. He is godfather to my children, and you could even say he was a "soul father" to them as well. With my mom, we were a very close-knit family unit. I am in my mid-60s now. My mom lived with my husband and me, and our children, until she reached the age of 93. <p>Updated: Wed May 08, 2019</p> 1ec266cbbfba151fd3b7d74a2373a8d5 Miserable at Home for 05/07/2019 Tue, 07 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I've been married for 32 years, but my wife and I have never made a great pair. We now have two grown children and a well-established life in the local community. I find great fulfillment in my work and my hobbies, but our home life is miserable &#8212; for me, for my wife and for my children. I've thought about divorce, of course, but my wife wouldn't be able to support herself financially, so I'd need to send her payments, I'm sure. How do I balance my needs with hers? We vowed "for better or for worse," but she has been a negligent wife, refusing to help support the family when we've been at our breaking point. I'm so torn. I don't want to break her heart or put her in a financially and emotionally precarious situation, but I also know I'm setting a terrible example for my children by staying with someone who makes us all miserable. What do you think? Is there any way out of this nightmare? &#8212; Stuck</p> <p>Dear Stuck: Failure is an orphan, even in relationships. I'd ask for you to look for your part in this. While I don't know exactly what you mean by "(she) makes us all miserable," it doesn't sound totally fair. Perhaps your wife is struggling with untreated mental health issues; it's hard for me to guess at what's going on without knowing the specifics. Regardless, my advice to you is to give marriage counseling a sincere try. It's the least you can do for your marriage, yourself, your wife and your children.<p>Updated: Tue May 07, 2019</p> 1cd4e6ec69e982015dd11643fa738862 Wrecking a Home and a Career Opportunity for 05/06/2019 Mon, 06 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: Recently, I met "Todd" through a friend of a friend. I went back to school to study graphic design a couple years ago and will be graduating this fall. Todd is also a graphic designer, so our mutual friend introduced us so that Todd could give me career advice and maybe even get me a job or apprenticeship at the company where he works. </p> <p>When I met Todd, instantly, sparks flew. We met at a coffee shop and it was only supposed to be a half-hour chat about graphic design, but we ended up talking for more than two hours about our favorite artists, our backgrounds &#8212; pretty much everything. He has the most beautiful eyes and made a lot of prolonged eye contact as we talked. Though it was supposed to just be a professional advice-giving session, it felt to me more like a first date. <p>Updated: Mon May 06, 2019</p> 364b55841b7ca2077b659a6ea2d1bcf8 Matters of Health and HR for 05/05/2019 Sun, 05 May 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I've been working at the same company for the last 10 years. It's a small office that trains temps, so we have new people all the time. I train them on office work. Though I'm friendly with each new employee, it's rare for me to get to know people on a deep level when they only stay for a few months or so. So, we normally talk about TV or what we're eating for lunch or light gossip around the office. We recently hired a new girl for the temp program, and I've never seen her eat more than a few veggie sticks for lunch. I jokingly asked about it the first day. She said she'd forgotten to buy groceries. But this has been going on for a few weeks now, and she's already thin as a rail. I don't feel very comfortable approaching her about her eating habits, but I also don't feel comfortable watching someone waste away either. I don't know much about eating disorders, so I was hoping you could help me on how to approach this &#8212; or not. &#8212; Concerned Co-worker </p> <p>Dear Concerned Co-worker: <span class="column--highlighted-text">Matters of health are incredibly sensitive and, in the context of the workplace, best handled by the human resources department.</span> Express your concerns to HR and not to any other colleagues. Also, see the National Eating Disorders Association's Workplace Toolkit at, and call the NEDA's hotline at (800) 931-2237 if you'd like further guidance. <p>Updated: Sun May 05, 2019</p>