DEAR ABBY: How do you handle providing truthful advice to someone with sensitive feelings? My sister "Ella" is actively dating and doesn't seem to handle the rejection well. This leads her to ask a number of questions she wants me to be truthful about, yet when I answer honestly, she gets mad and sometimes starts to cry.
Now when Ella asks my opinion, I either tell her half-truths or avoid the situation altogether. I'm not mean when I say what I think, but I think she only wants to hear what she wants. How do I answer her questions without hurting her feelings yet be truthful?
- Tongue-Tied in Ohio
DEAR TONGUE-TIED: You don't. Instead, you suggest that Ella seek information from someone "more qualified" - a psychologist. Because she has had one failed relationship after another, it would benefit her to talk to a therapist so she won't keep repeating the same mistakes she's making. Your sister may be attracted to the wrong kind of men, or so needy she chases men away. She may be more receptive to hearing what she needs to from a therapist than from you.
DEAR ABBY: I have a man living with me as a boarder, paying weekly rent. He's a friend as well, but not a close one.
I'm at a loss as to how to tell him he can't use my bath towels, washcloth, bar soap, toothpaste or hairbrush. I'm tempted to tape a list on the bathroom mirror saying, "Please do not use the following," then list the items I feel are too personal to share. I can't imagine how someone would think it's OK to use someone else's personal things.
- Grossed-Out Guy in the South
DEAR GROSSED OUT: The thing about silence is that it implies consent. Obviously, your boarder knows or cares nothing about boundaries. If you don't have the courage to tell him face-to-face that certain things are off-limits and what they are, then by all means tape a large sign to the bathroom mirror.