Archive advice

In Sharp Increase Over Last Year, Over Half Of Adults In U.S. Own Smartphones
A student sent me inappropriate pictures and I’m afraid to say anything

I’m in my mid-twenties, and I’ve been working as a substitute teacher for the last couple years (I joined Teach for America right out of college). I know some of the girls in classes I teach have crushes on me — high schoolers aren’t very subtle — but I brush it off, because I’m not an idiot. Last week, however, I got a disturbing email from a girl in the English class I subbed for. Pictures were attached. You get the gist. What do I do about this situation? I obviously haven’t responded, but I’m afraid she might go Lifetime-movie on me. More

Second Day Of Crufts 2015
I already knew my friend was cruel to her dog. Then, I made an alarming discovery.

My friend has a dog, and she’s always been kind of half-assed about caring for it. I’ll see her out at a party or a barbeque all day long, so I know the dog is home alone, and sometimes she goes out right after she finishes a shift (she’s a waitress, so that might be pretty late), without even going home to feed the dog or let it out. The other day, though, I went over to her house and realized things have crossed a line. There were piles of dog feces in a couple of corners, and the entryway rug was soaked in urine when we walked in. She laughed it off and called the dog naughty, then cleaned up the poop and basically ignored it. I’m worried about the puppy, and about my friend; what kind of person does that to an animal? Should I call animal control on her? More

My sister manipulated my parents. I resent them for giving in.

My parents agreed to help my sister and I with college. I went to a state school and saved them a bunch of money. My sister went to a private liberal arts school that cost three times as much. Now she’s dropping out, and she’s convinced my parents to give her the equivalent of her last year of tuition as a “nest egg,” since they “would have spent that money on her anyway.” I think that’s completely unfair, and I resent my sister for manipulating my parents and them for giving in. How can I get over those feelings? I always play by the rules, and I feel like I’m being punished for it.


There’s a reason parents love falling back on that phrase, “You think this isn’t fair? Well life isn’t fair.” It’s because they’re right.

If you want to tally up what your parents have done for you versus your sister in dollars and cents, you’re right, they’re being “unfair” to you. But the other side of this coin is that you’re clearly more capable of navigating the world on your own than your sister is.

Just look at the facts: You chose college responsibly, while she went somewhere expensive though she clearly didn’t value that. You finished your education and are moving on to the next phase of life, she’s dropping out. You clearly have your shit together in ways she doesn’t yet, but also in ways she may never achieve.

In a cosmic way, your sister might be the one who got the short end of the stick; maybe because of her wiring, or maybe because your parents indulged her, she’s not nearly as capable and successful as you are.

If anything, that’s not something you should resent her for, it’s something you should feel lucky about.

Try seeing this problem not in the light of money, but in the light of your parents loving their children no matter what. Your sister needs help right now, and they’re in a position to provide it. They’re choosing to do so because they don’t want her to wind up in a bad place.

You don’t need their help right now, and I’d wager anything they’re extremely proud of you for that.

If you really can’t get over the money, why not go to your parents with a “responsible child” proposal: Ask if you can use a similar “gifted” sum towards a down payment (now or in the future) or further education. If they say no, tell them how you feel: You’d like to be rewarded for your good choices, and instead it feels like your sister is being rewarded for bad ones.

Or, better yet, stop focusing on the dollar amounts your parents can give you, and try to pay closer attention to the sort of support that really matters, the kind that made you the “good son” in the first place.

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My friend drives drunk… a lot

My friend drives drunk. A lot. And not just “one drink too many” drunk, more like “in obviously rough shape” drunk. It not only makes me scared for her, it makes me angry: She could hurt herself or someone else, and there’s really no excuse in the era of Uber. I’ve tried talking to her about it, but she brushes it off or claims she won’t do it again, but then does, anyway. I’ve been tempted to call the cops on her just to get her to stop doing this. How do I convince her it’s not worth it before something terrible happens?  More

The Bachelorette Strayed; Should She Tell the Fiance?
One of my close college friends is about to get married to a mutual friend of ours–they’ve been dating since our junior year. Recently, we threw her a bachelorette party in New Orleans. She had her own room at the hotel, but the first night we went out I got ready with her, so things would move faster. After a wild night of drinks and dancing, we all stumbled home, and I realized ten or fifteen minutes later that I’d left some of my toiletries in her room.


What to Do With a Crappy Parent

I work part-time as a nanny for a 9-year-old boy. Recently, at school, he had an accident (I think he might have had mild food-poisoning). The office called his mom at work, and when I showed up to get him, she was already home with the kid–let’s call him Eric–getting ready to head out to buy new clothes and shoes (it was that kind of accident). More