Short Answers Feb. 25
Paula Forman and Jeff Johnson
Sunday, February 25, 2018
Dear Short Answers: I’ve seen in many advice columns, including yours of late, suggestions that elders get with the times and invest in social media if they want to keep in touch with those grandkids. Did it ever occur to anyone that on a fixed income that initial and monthly outlay ranks low? Yes, some phones are free but also small and hard to use and see. So if you want something easy to use, your outlay could be $300 for the phone alone, then another $45 minimum for moderate talk and text time. Give the grandparents a break and reach out the old-fashioned way and call. I am sure they’d love to “hear” voices. Can you support this message? — Pappy
Dear Pappy: So you want the grandkids to feel what it’s like to be old, uncomfortable with technology and have little discretionary income? We suggest you try to remember what it’s like to be so busy, tired and emotionally tapped out that a relaxed phone chat with grandparents means a sacrifice of a different kind.
WHEN NOT IS ABSOLUTELY GOOD ENOUGH
Dear Short Answers: Is it wrong not to go to visit a friend who is in the hospital? Hospitals make me very nervous and depressed. Can’t I just send a note or flowers? — Don’t Want to Go
Dear Don’t Want To: It is absolutely not necessary to go to the hospital. Some of us actually prefer not to be seen in debilitated conditions. Notes, flowers, books, magazines or offers to walk the dog are suitable expressions of caring.
Dear Short Answers: For the past 20 years, my best friend has been late for everything. If I make a date for lunch, I’ll bring a book with me because I can guarantee that my friend will be 30 to 45 minutes late. If we go to a movie, I’ll save her a seat on the aisle because she won’t get there before the movie starts. Before cellphones, I could believe her excuses, but I just don’t anymore and I’m sick and tired of waiting for her. How can I magically get her to change after all this time putting up with her rude behavior? — Mad Best Friend
Dear Mad: She keeps doing it because you keep allowing it. Tell her you are “officially” done with waiting for her. Then stick to it. Fifteen minutes is long enough to wait for anyone — then leave. Don’t save her a seat at the movies. We can’t say if she will change, but if you do, you won’t feel so put upon.
THE TIMELINE OF LOVE HAS ROUNDABOUTS
Dear Short Answers: I just got a call today from a woman I don’t know very well to tell me that she and my ex of six years were getting intimate — and was it all right with me? I was impressed with her candor and heard her concern — she clearly wanted confirmation firsthand that he and I are truly finished. I really am relieved to hear he has, in fact, moved on and his heart is focused elsewhere. But for her to need to ask me makes me wonder. Why is she asking? — Happy Now
Dear Happy: Why do you think she is asking? We all know — that she suspects she is the rebound. She may be correct.
Life is complicated. “Short Answers” isn’t. Send a question about whatever is bothering you to firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.shortanswers.net and a psychologist and sociologist will answer. A selection of the best questions will be printed every Sunday in The Daily Reflector.