How Do I Tell My Friend to Stop Paying for His Son’s Lifestyle?

My Name Is Karen. What Can I Do About the Meme?

Now, if you simply can’t contain yourself, the next time your friend starts in on his son, ask, “Are you venting, or would you like my opinion?” Even if he claims to want advice, remember: No one wants to hear his child being trashed by a golfing buddy. Just suggest they visit a therapist together or tell a deprecating story about your own child and how you solved the problem.

Credit…Christoph Niemann

My husband and I received a gift certificate to a neighborhood restaurant shortly before the coronavirus pandemic. The restaurant closed for months, then reopened for takeout and outdoor dining. I’ve felt uncomfortable using the certificate, knowing how restaurants are struggling. Now the restaurant is closing for good, and my husband wants to use the certificate before it does. I say we chalk it up to a donation. You?


Well, you’re certainly entitled to use the gift certificate. But I agree with you, Audrey: If you can afford to let this go, it seems miserly to force a restaurant that’s failed because of a pandemic to honor a gift certificate. Still, if you want one last meal at your neighborhood restaurant, I can get behind using the certificate so long as you really make it rain tip money all over the joint. The workers are suffering, too.

For seven years, we’ve hosted Thanksgiving dinner at our home in Oregon. We’ve always invited a couple from San Francisco who are conservative. (The husband, for instance, denies climate change.) To keep things civil, we send an email to the other guests reminding them to avoid politics, though the conservative husband is still outspoken. My husband doesn’t want to exclude them, but for me, this year is different. I would like to call the wife, with whom I’m close, and tell her that our tradition is on hold this year because of our momentous presidential election. With Covid, we will be down to six guests without them, but we can’t use Covid as an excuse. Any advice?


My blood sugar may be low, but I reject nearly every premise of your question. Reputable models of Covid-19 prevalence (and a cursory glance at Labor Day stories on Instagram) suggest the pandemic will still be going strong at the end of November. Why can’t you “use Covid as an excuse”? It’s the only sensible thing to do.

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