Dear Annie: I visit my family every summer and help my aging mother with her huge yard. About a decade ago, she and my stepdad bought a house for me. It was understood that eventually I would be able to put my name on the deed, but at the time, my financial situation was overwhelming. Due to cutbacks at work and other problems, I had to declare bankruptcy. But I should have all my debts paid off in about two years.
When I saw my mother today, my aunt was present. Mom made a comment about my finances that left me covered in a bucket of shame. She has never done this before. I am angry, but I suspect she has no clue what she did. I wonder whether she is losing her perception of appropriate behavior and can no longer keep a confidence.
The problem is, my aunt is now curious about my financial situation and feels she has the right to inquire since my mother brought it to her attention. I don’t know how to handle this. Any advice?
Dear California: It doesn’t matter what your aunt thinks she is entitled to. You are not required to discuss your financial situation with anyone who isn’t directly involved. When your aunt tries to get information from you, be polite but firm. Tell her, “I appreciate your concern, but I’d rather not discuss something so personal.” It’s possible your mother’s comment indicated suppressed anger about this situation, and you might discuss it with her. Otherwise, please suggest she see her doctor for a complete evaluation of her mental and physical health.
Dear Annie: I recently attended my 10-year high school reunion. When we started college, Facebook was just gaining traction.
At the reunion, I was mingling with my classmates and catching up. If someone had posted on Facebook that they had gotten married or had a child, I would comment and say congratulations. There was one classmate who posted that she was going on a month-long trip to Europe. I told her that sounded fun. She responded by saying how awkward it was that I knew her personal business when we hadn’t spoken in 10 years.
If someone doesn’t want others to know about their vacation plans, they shouldn’t post them on their Facebook page for all to see. You can put as much or as little information as you desire on your profile. You also can control who sees it. Was it rude of me to discuss this?
— Awkward Turtle
Dear Turtle: No. When people post things openly on Facebook, they are courting comments from anyone who sees their page, whether or not that is the intent. As you said, there are ways to limit exposure, but you have to set the controls to do so. Privacy is becoming a luxury of the past. It is ridiculous to publicize your life and then act offended when people notice. Still, the best method of handling such unpleasant encounters is to apologize for intruding and back away.
Dear Annie: “Betty” wrote in response to “N.N.,” suggesting that her husband’s depression might be linked to celiac disease.
I do not have celiac, but have battled with several serious health problems for years. I finally saw a nutritionist, who diagnosed me as highly sensitive to gluten. I thought she was a quack, but I gave it a try. After three days of eating no gluten and feeling better, I decided to have a graham cracker. For the next several days, I suffered with a migraine, cramps and an awful “hangover” feeling.
My advice is, even if the celiac test comes back negative, he might try going without gluten to see how he feels. My nutritionist had me add more lean protein and “safe” carbs such as quinoa and buckwheat to my diet. It’s been a year, and my symptoms and depression have much improved.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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