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Nov 19

As if Thanksgiving Wasnt Stressful Enough This Year – The New York Times

I was just informed that my sisters boyfriend will be joining us for Thanksgiving. Theyve been going out for two years. I dont like him and my other sibling downright hates him. Any other year, we could deal with this fairly easily; we have a big extended family. But this year, only immediate family members are coming to dinner because of Covid-19. Id love to get past this in the spirit of family togetherness, but a big cause of the problem is my sisters condescending attitude toward our other sibling and me when shes with her boyfriend. Any suggestions other than strong holiday drinks?

KATRINA

This may not be the advice you had in mind, but unless your immediate family is already part of a careful Covid pod, this is not the year for mixing households at Thanksgiving. If you cant eat outdoors with social distance, the alarming increase in Covid infections and related hospitalizations and deaths makes your plan risky for family members and everyone they meet. Dont you want to live to hate the boyfriend in the New Year?

Now, as for him and your sister, going to her with a vague complaint of condescension is unlikely to accomplish much. Calmly share a few specific examples, prefaced by a sincere desire to get along better with her and her boyfriend. Thats the way to work through this problem.

My daughter is legally blind and functionally sighted. She has a service dog. At 29, she is extremely independent, and shell soon start grad school after working at a veterans hospital. She is popular and rarely idle. I love her dearly. The problem: She has slowly gained a lot of weight (maybe 50 pounds). She eats right, just too much. She starts diets, then lets them go. She exercises intermittently and has tried online dating without much success. Recently, I heard her say, I have to lose some of this weight. I dont think everyone has to be thin, and I certainly dont want to hurt her feelings. But I think she may be happier if she lost some weight. Any advice?

RICHARD

Your daughter is a competent adult. She is independent, hard-working and has family and friends who love her. By your own admission, she already knows that shes heavy. (And I dont see what her visual acuity has to do with any of this.) If she decides she wants to lose weight, for whatever reason (her health, if thats an issue, or simply to conform to our cultures unyielding preference for thinness), I have every confidence she will do it. If she asks for your support, give it.

But for you say or signal to your daughter that her losing weight would make you happy even if you phrased it as something you think would make her happy you run the risk of shaming her and undercutting her self-esteem. You seem to have raised a wonderful daughter. Now, stand back and let her be her own woman.

My best friend is in a relationship; she and I are both in our 20s. Recently, after a Tinder hookup, the guy hung around, and we showed each other people on the app wed hooked up with before. I was shocked when he showed me my best friends picture. (I didnt know she had a profile!) Should I tell her boyfriend?

BFF

What? Why tell the boyfriend? (And why are you hooking up during a pandemic?) Your question suggests that you feel considerable resentment for your best friend. Why else would you want to disrupt her relationship like this?

For the record, her sex life is none of your business. And the hookup, if it happened, may have predated her relationship or be allowed by its terms. If youre going to discuss this coincidence with anyone, make it your best friend (or a therapist).

We live in a solid prewar building, and our neighbors are civil when we meet in passing, which is rare. The couple down the hall and their teenager let their heavy front door slam behind them when they come and go. This makes a loud bang that we hear in our apartment. Its annoying and startling. Ive been sitting on this for two years. Ive rehearsed many ways to speak to them, but Im afraid of creating bad blood. Should I just call the managing agent?

ANONYMOUS

Most of us dislike confrontation. But reporting your neighbors to the managing agent is much more aggressive than simply saying with a smile: May I ask a favor? Could you close your front door behind you rather than let it slam? That banging really startles me. Theyve probably never considered the issue.

Try not to leave a note. Even the nicest writing doesnt come with a neighborly smile. Just knock on their door if you cant wait to bump into them in the hall. I predict wild success.

For help with your awkward situation, send a question to SocialQ@nytimes.com, to Philip Galanes on Facebook or @SocialQPhilip on Twitter.

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As if Thanksgiving Wasnt Stressful Enough This Year - The New York Times

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