It’s time again for Shortcuts. For every question, I’ll give my advice in just a few sentences, because sometimes the answer to a person’s question is so obvious and the need to hear it so great, being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go.
I have been in the hospital for the last four months with cancer, yet I still sent to Trinidad – which was very expensive – over £100 worth of presents for all my boyfriend’s family and him. When I came home from hospital – I live in England – he still has not even sent me a Christmas card. When I wrote and said I feel very hurt and upset, he said, “I am not arguing with you; it’s Christmas. Goodbye.” What do you think of his behaviour and mine? Perhaps I should have given and not expected anything back? But surely a card is not asking too much. What should I do? — Gift-less
You just got home from spending four months in the hospital getting treated for cancer and your boyfriend not only didn’t so much as send a card, but he hung up on you when you expressed your hurt feelings? MOA!!!
I’m a college senior who has just started dating this guy, and he’s wonderful. Our relationship is progressing along normal lines, including our physical relationship (he’s not the problem). My problem is my roommate. She’s very conservative about sex and physical relationships, while I’m more liberal about it. This hasn’t been a problem before, since this is the first person I’ve dated since we’ve lived together, and one-night stands have never been my thing. How do I bring up the fact that my boyfriend will inevitably be spending the night occasionally? I don’t want to be asking permission, since I don’t share a room with her (we live in an apartment), but at the same time I want to try to be considerate. — Confused in College
Say, “Hey, roomie, things are going well with ‘Kevin,’ and I’m sure at some point he’ll be staying over. Please let me know if we’re ever inconveniencing you or making you uncomfortable and I’ll be happy to work out a compromise that’s fair for both of us.”
My birthday is coming up and I’ve been working with a friend of mine to celebrate it. I went to a science museum a while ago and was inspired by a butterfly exhibit they had. I decided to make this the decoration theme for my birthday. Here’s the problem: one of my friends is terrified of butterflies. She’s had this phobia for many years and she can’t even stand to see a picture of one or see them on TV. If she does, she screams or gasps and looks away while breathing heavily. She said, before I had started planning, that she’d be out of the country for my birthday. Since she wasn’t going, I went ahead with my theme plans. Now she tells me that the trip has been cancelled and that she can go to my party after all.
I don’t know what to do! She’s obviously welcome, but she doesn’t know about the theme and, of course, I have to tell her. I wouldn’t let her show up without knowing, but I also know she won’t come when she finds out. I don’t want to seem mean, but I really love how my birthday bash is gonna look and my other friend and I have done a lot in preparation. I understand how she feels about butterflies because I have my own fear (snakes), even though I can at least keep my cool when I see one on TV, but there’s not much time left until my birthday and she gave me the news just recently. What to do? — ButterflyBash
Tell her that you’d been fantasizing about a butterfly-themed party for a while and, when you learned she’d be out of town for your birthday, you decided this would be the perfect opportunity to plan one. Now that she’ll be there, she’s more than welcome to join in for part or all of the party, but you’ll understand if she can’t make it and maybe the two of you — and even some additional friends — can go out to dinner that week so she can still celebrate your birthday and catch up with you. But, seriously, fear of butterflies?!
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