Editor's Note: Hundreds of Ann Landers' loyal readers have requested that newspapers continue to publish her columns. These letters originally appeared in 1999.
Dear Ann Landers: What can I do, short of outright rudeness, to convince an in-law that I do not want her discarded clothes? I don't want her new clothes, either, because her taste is so different from mine. Unfortunately, nothing I say seems to make any difference.
My daughters feel the same way about this woman's clothes. We are all short, small-boned, short-waisted ash blondes. Our "benefactress" is a tall, slim brunette who looks terrific in colors none of us can wear. She is also a shopaholic with an eye for what looks best on her and has plenty of money to spend. Even when she buys something new for one of us, it is in her style, not ours, the color looks hideous and the shape is all wrong. We end up wasting a lot of time returning things.
I have tried to tell this relative tactfully that I don't want any more of her clothes, but she continues to bring over dresses, coats, blouses and so on. Some people would say this isn't anything I should complain about, but it's beginning to irritate me, and I'd appreciate your help. — Perplexed in N.C.
Dear N.C.: You have told "Miss Bountiful Gift Giver" already that you don't want any more of her clothes. If she persists in bringing them over, simply say, "These lovely things are going to Goodwill and a few other charities that I am interested in. I am sure they will be appreciated." That ought to do it.
Dear Ann Landers: I have a wife and two sons, ages 15 and 12. I love them dearly, but they are so scatterbrained, they drive me nuts.
They constantly are losing keys, glasses, hairbrushes and wallets. They put empty peanut butter jars back in the cabinet and containers in the fridge without the tops screwed on. I once found my wife's purse in the freezer.
I am one of those people who likes everything in its place. I have started hiding items from my family so I can find them when needed. I used to lend my wife and kids the scissors or Scotch tape, but I would never see those things again. Now, I refuse to let my family use any of my belongings.
I'm sure I drive them as crazy as they drive me, but the truth is, they are the ones who need to change. I have pleaded with them to recognize how frustrating their forgetfulness is to me, but they simply laugh and ask, "Where's the TV remote?" (We have at least three, none of which they can locate.)
Do you have a solution to this problem? — Left-Brained in South Carolina
Dear Left-Brained: I can tell you they will never change, so stop eating yourself up over their "forgetfulness." It must be difficult for a neatnik such as you to live with slobs, but accept with grace that which you cannot change. It's a no-hoper.
Do you have questions about sex but no one to talk to? Ann Landers' booklet "Sex and the Teenager" is frank and to the point. To find out more about Ann Landers and read her past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.