High Road

When it comes to dealing with people every day, do you take the high road or the low road? Gail Rosenblum offers timely advice for life's many conundrums.

June 22, 2018

'Dump' old pal who wasn't a real friend?

An acquaintance is trying to rekindle a friendship that didn't exist.
June 15, 2018

How not to let a leaf-blowing neighbor ruin your serenity

This is about a childish, and lonely, neighbor who is hurt and acting out.
May 24, 2018
She's not e-mailing you.

Chilly sister-in-law might be sending a message

Don't take her radio silence personally.
May 20, 2018

Mother-in-law still gets last name wrong on birthday checks after 20 years

Her mother-in-law remembers her birthday -- with a check with the wrong last name.
May 4, 2018
Noisy houseguests keeping you awake?

They're feeling hostile at having friends treat home like a youth hostel

Hard-partying houseguests keep hosts awake with late night rowdiness.
April 27, 2018
Is that handicapped parking permit legitimate?

Misuse of handicap spots drives her mad

The problem: Could you please address the misuse of handicap parking spaces? When I need to shop, I drive around and around to find a…
April 20, 2018
Hmm, what to say?

Hey, buddy, can you spare me a career recommendation?

What to do when finding something nice to say is a real job.
April 13, 2018
He looks friendly, but you're not in the mood.

Does seeing dogs everywhere drive you barking mad?

More and more people have dogs that they treat like children and take everywhere.
April 5, 2018

Friend's fad diet pursuits are eating her up

How to offer an exercise in patience and model good habits.
March 29, 2018
Lost that precious jewelry gift? It’s best to confess.

Oops! I lost some jewelry my boyfriend gave me

Should I tell him or buy a replacement?
March 22, 2018

Speak up or shut up about your partner's sense of style?

I don't like the way my partner dresses, but I don't want to hurt her feelings.
March 9, 2018

Misinformed know-it-all friend takes fun out of visiting

It's hard to just ignore vociferous incorrect statements.
March 1, 2018
Would it kill folks to wash their hands after using the bathroom?

What to do when you catch folks who don't wash their hands dirty-handed

Hand-wash scofflaws are hard to reform.
February 25, 2018
If your sleep is regularly disturbed by your neighbors’ loud sex, you may need to have a chat.

Neighbors' loud sexy time interrupts bedtime quiet

How do sleep-deprived neighbors tell amorous pair to quiet down?
February 16, 2018
What are you having tonight, beautiful lady?

Restaurant server keeps dishing up fawning compliments

What to do when obsequious comments are proving unappetizing.
February 8, 2018

Miserable new co-worker likes to share his many issues

Should colleagues tell him to lighten up?
February 2, 2018

What if cruise-ship dining companions want to put politics on menu?

They want a vacation from politics, but the thought of dining with strangers is stressing them out.
January 26, 2018

Present tense: How should you handle a regifted gift?

You don't want it, either, so now what?
January 19, 2018

Feeling lots of stress over carts all over the parking lot?

Here's some helpful parking lot etiquette.
December 28, 2017

Slacker co-worker takes credit for team's work

Should put-upon worker tell the boss what's up?
December 22, 2017
Oh, no, they're at it again.

Couple's bickering is making friends uncomfortable

What to do when a night out feels like couples therapy.
December 15, 2017
Maybe she didn't like her nuggets.

Tantrum-throwing kids turn fine dining into fine whining

What to do about disruptive children in nice restaurants.
December 8, 2017

Is co-worker using wrong names on purpose?

Is he bad with names, or does he have problems with colleagues from other countries?
November 30, 2017

Passerby feels cornered by petitioners on the street

You have no obligation to stop or sign, but neither should you see this as an opportunity to chastise.
November 25, 2017
It’s OK to stand when something dramatic is happening.

Down in front! Uber-fan won't stand for being told to sit

Others want to see the game, but this guy doesn't care.
November 10, 2017
Is that a service animal, an emotional support animal or a pet?

Are fake 'service animals' in stores your pet peeve?

Before you starting telling the owners off, consider whether you're making false assumptions.
November 3, 2017
A host leaves guest towels out when entertaining, but doesn't think they're being used.

Does host need to tell dinner guests to wash their hands?

Unused hand towels at party lead to unappetizing conclusion.
October 26, 2017
It's her party and you'll cry if you want to.

You weren't invited to the party? Here's how to respond

The problem: A work colleague had a special birthday. She has many friends outside the office, so I didn’t think anything of it. Afterward, a…
October 23, 2017
These pro- and anti-dog poop stickers for your garbage may be purchased through Galtier Community School PTO. E-mail galtierpto@gmail.com.

Is it OK to put your dog's poop in someone else's garbage can?

It isn't really a legal issue, since it's unlikely you'll get sued, but it is a good-neighbor issue.
October 12, 2017

Dad has Alzheimer's, and kids made excuses not to attend family picnic

Are they self-absorbed, or is something else going on?
October 6, 2017

What's the verdict on obnoxious judge?

Family's behavior at lake home disturbs neighbors.
September 29, 2017
Fellow shoppers may be in a hurry.

Give pushy fellow grocery shoppers a dressing-down?

What to do when fellow shoppers are impatient and rude.
September 22, 2017
You love your grandkids, but you don’t want to take care of them 24/7.

Tired of being asked to babysit grandkids and granddogs?

The key is to find balance.
September 15, 2017
Don’t get pulled into the dicey territory of another’s decisions.

What's the big deal about a billionaire giving away $1M?

Don't get pulled into the dicey territory of another's decisions.
September 8, 2017
Some people like nicknames, and others don’t.

How do you tell people not to call you by a nickname?

Make your point, while understanding that the nickname caller means no harm.
September 1, 2017
A grandson is eager for financial independence.

Salesman grandson won't take 'no' for an answer

Grandmother has a lot on her plate, and she doesn't want what he's selling.
August 25, 2017
Removing the training wheels can be scary for kids and parents.

Is 6 too old for a child to have training wheels on a bike?

If your kid doesn't want to go to two wheels, what should you do?
August 18, 2017
A good guest will likely bring a small but thoughtful housewarming gift.

Is it rude to ask what you can bring to dinner?

Some hosts have meal planned and don't know how to reply.
August 11, 2017
There are ways to handle homophobic comments at work.

Tell HR about colleague's homophobic comments?

Some inappropriate "banter" has made things awkward at work.
August 4, 2017
Keep your medical history private with some deft deflection.

How to deal with nosy friends who want information about your health issues

The problem: There are a few people in my life who are aware of my medical/mental health history, and they ask me about it, with…
July 28, 2017

Bride is blue: Mom's wedding dress is 'beautiful' but not her style

How can she tell Mom she doesn't want to wear her dress?
July 21, 2017
Hey, guests, help set the table already.

How to make cabin guests lend a helping hand

After cooking, cleaning and entertaining visitors, this host was left exhausted and wondering how to get some help around the cabin.
July 13, 2017
If you want to take the high road, you might use humor.

How to answer, 'When are you having kids?'

Anyone who asks such a personal question is likely unaware of the minefields it unearths.
July 7, 2017
No lipstick, please.

Neighbor doesn't want to attend makeup and jewelry parties

How can she stop invitations to come over and buy products?
June 30, 2017
Protect yourself in a volatile work situation.

How do I stop a lying co-worker from compromising my job?

What to do when a boss unfairly plays favorites.
June 23, 2017
Most of us have dealt with a too-talky spouse, friend, relative or neighbor.

One-sided talks are frustrating old friends

When a group of pals gets together, one woman talks so much the others can't get a word in edgewise.
June 16, 2017
If you’re not happy with a bouquet, what should you do?

Should I go out on limb to criticize florist?

A request at a high-end florist for a cheerful bouquet made this customer sad.
June 9, 2017
Mira Sorvino and Lisa Kudrow deal with mean girls in the 1997 film “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion.”

Classmate's tactless comment at reunion left her speechless

Expression of pity followed long tale of woe.
June 2, 2017
Watch that beverage.

Time to chill? Beverage spill led to a turbulent flight

Instead of landing in the attendant's garbage bag, child's cranberry juice soaked into passenger's pants.
May 26, 2017
Mmm, pastries.

Employees aren't sweet on pastry party offer after canceled lunch

Should workers voice their disappointment?
May 12, 2017
A playdate can give a single parent a needed break.

Is it OK to ask kids of single parents to come over to play?

Some tips on playdates and single parents.
May 5, 2017
People making comments aren't so much obnoxious as insecure.

Sick of being called 'stick,' she wants to end 'thin shaming'

How should she respond to rude comments?
April 14, 2017
Joseph Cotten and Ingrid Bergman in “Gaslight.”

Did she forget what he told her, or is he trying to drive her crazy?

Could this be a "Gaslight" situation, or simple aging?
April 7, 2017
Paging Dr. Google.

Sick of friend's medical advice? Here's the prescription

Our paths are increasingly paved with well-intentioned Dr. Googles.
March 31, 2017
It’s OK to tap your headphones-wearing co-worker on the shoulder.

Do I interrupt a co-worker wearing headphones?

Several young people in my office wear headphones. They don't always look up when I come over with a question or request.
March 24, 2017
This philanderer gets too much love from in-laws

This philanderer gets too much love from in-laws

The problem: My parents think my husband is a saint. Truth is, he had an affair.
March 17, 2017
We expect that our kids will graduate from sibling rivalry once they hit adulthood, but that’s not always the case.

Time for therapy? Parent caught in middle of feuding adult kids

After brother's bad choices, is there a way to get siblings to get along respectfully?
March 10, 2017
Is your friend always keeping score?

Correct insulting pal who thinks she knows everything?

If I offer my opinion, or even a fact, she rebuts or denies it, to the point of insulting me.
March 3, 2017
More walk, less talk.

Pontificating pal gives patience a real workout at the gym

What to do when a verbose gym mate is ruining the experience.
February 24, 2017
Take baby steps. An errand here. A hot dish there.

Help elderly mother-in-law even if she wasn't very nice in past?

My mother-in-law has never been a big fan of mine. Now she wants my help.
February 17, 2017
A lot of things set folks off behind the wheel.

Stress behind the wheel: How best to respond to road rage?

Another driver freaked out when I stopped for a pedestrian. How should I have reacted?
February 10, 2017
Wow, this phone call has lasted a while.

How do I rate kind, but too chatty, service rep?

You just wanted your complaint addressed, not a bunch of stories. Now what?
February 3, 2017
Your neighbors’ lack of tidiness could be off-putting to potential buyers.

Will messy neighbors affect our home sale?

We're selling our house, but our next-door neighbors' house looks trashy.
January 27, 2017
Sharing a child's cancer survival story may provide hope.

Is talking about my son's cancer battle taboo?

My son had cancer. He is healthy now. Sometimes when I tell people, they are shocked and don't know what to say.
January 20, 2017
Hmm, what’s cooking?

Tell elderly mom that her cooking is making family ill?

A proud 80-something mother loves to cook for her family, but she's likely not paying as much attention as she once did to basic food safety.
January 13, 2017
If they are true friends, they aren’t judging you by one comment.

I said something stupid at a party – now what?

Should I follow up or let it slide?
January 6, 2017
Are you the only one ponying up?

Group gifts and freeloading friends — remind pals to pay up, or just give up?

I'm the one who steps up when flowers or a gift need to be sent. Friends don't always pay me back
December 30, 2016
Soon the barking will start.

What to do when a neighbor's dog walking is out of bounds

My neighbor walks her dog in my yard, and it freaks my dog out.
December 23, 2016
A picture of the wedding wasn’t the next best thing to being there.

Ignore longtime 'friend' who excluded her from son's wedding?

Excluded from guest list, she's tempted to ignore old pal.
December 16, 2016
Well, your friend went to Rio de Janeiro, too!

You just wanted to talk about your vacation: What to do about one-upping pal

You've been hijacked or, more accurately, your conversation has been.
December 10, 2016
The letters RSVP are ignored by many partygoers, causing problems for the hosts.

No idea who's coming to your party? What to do when guests ignore RSVP

I've been hosting a holiday party for my neighbors for many years, but people show up without having sent an RSVP.
December 2, 2016
Don't just stop in the middle of the aisle.

Do wearing earbuds and grocery shopping really mix?

Rude fellow shoppers are making the grocery store an obstacle course.
November 19, 2016
You don't need a helping of stress with your turkey.

Is it OK to skip Thanksgiving because of family tension over politics?

How not to let politics ruin the holidays with your family.
November 12, 2016
A scene from “The Graduate” (with Anne Bancroft and Dustin Hoffman) illustrates how NOT to handle an inappropriate crush.

Help! My teenager's friend is flirting with me

To avoid legal and moral issues (as well as the ick factor), you must be the adult here.
October 29, 2016
Columnist Gail Rosenblum

How can you take the high road?

Irritating co-workers, poor service, dishes in the sink. Aggravating! We know we’re not supposed to sweat the small stuff. We know we ought to take…
October 21, 2016
Contextual clues may help in introductions.

What to call your 'girlfriend' when you're of AARP age?

"Significant other" and/or "partner" sound weird. Is there something more age-appropriate?
October 14, 2016
It’s time to face the music.

Oh, no! You sent insulting e-mail to person you insulted — now what?

The good news is you're not likely to do that again. The bad news is you're going to have to talk about it.
October 7, 2016
Is what’s on the screen really more important?

Rudeness or emergency? Husband with cellphone breaks up neighborly chat

What to do when you're suddenly shunned by a neighbor.
October 1, 2016
Enough already!

After 60, is there anything sweet about being called 'honey'?

What to do when a term of endearment isn't endearing.
September 23, 2016
Open drawers can be hazardous to your hip and your relationship.

Tired of keeping mouth shut when spouse won't close drawers?

He's facing a daily battle to get his wife to shut all the drawers she pulls out and leaves open.
September 17, 2016
A fixation on the honor guard is likely not what’s at issue here.

Sister-in-law holds weird grudge over Dad's funeral: Try to explain?

What do you do when someone chooses to believe a lie?
September 12, 2016
Some people are more sensitive to perfume and cologne than others.

Gee, you smell toxic: Tell co-worker her perfume is making you sick?

My co-worker wears a scent that makes me nauseated. How do I tell her to stop wearing it?
September 3, 2016
On a crowded flight, the armrest is your friend.

What to do when large seatmate makes plane ride plain cramped

I was flying recently and the woman who sat down next to me was quite large. Should I have said something to the flight attendant?
August 29, 2016
Not everyone has fond memories of high school.

Attend gathering of classmates who bullied her in high school?

It's been 43 years since graduation, but the pain of bullying has rushed back with an invitation to golf and have lunch.
August 19, 2016
Where was a name tag when you needed it?

I forgot my high school friend's name at a party: Now what?

I called my former classmate by the wrong name – repeatedly – and apologized after she corrected me. But I'm still mortified.
August 18, 2016
This could be one expensive cup of coffee.

Meet with friend who wants to borrow money?

A good friend wants to have coffee to talk about a loan, but didn't say how much or why. Should you go?
August 5, 2016
Backstage passes aren't easy to come by.

Give pushy friend a pass on extra backstage pass request?

It was hard enough to get backstage passes, and now friend is asking for another one.
July 30, 2016
What should you do if you're at a party and see a friend flirting with your partner?

Call out pal who flirted with girlfriend at party?

My girlfriend and I were at a party and a friend of mine was flirting with her. Should I say something to him?
July 25, 2016
How to handle no “plus one” on the invitation? Piece of cake.

No 'plus one'? How to handle flying solo at a wedding

Close friend's wedding brings up painful feelings after divorce.
July 9, 2016
Traveling with someone is a big commitment.

Is it OK to leave annoying friends out of group travel plans?

What to do when some friends make vacation feel like work.
July 2, 2016
It's graduation season, which means invitations for kids you may barely know.

Do I need to give graduation gifts to kids I hardly know?

I received an invitation to a high school graduation party from an old friend. Do I owe a gift?
June 24, 2016

High Road: Friend's rant is over-the-top

What do you do when a close friend goes on a total rant about a mutual acquaintance, to the point that it gets uncomfortable?
June 18, 2016
What family treasures does this recipe box hold?

What to do when someone steals your recipe

I attended a summer block party last week and noticed that one of my neighbors, who has been to our house several times over the years, brought a dish that I often make.
June 11, 2016
Your role is to listen carefully and acknowledge feelings without judging.

What to do when pal's adult child complains about the friend

The adult child of a close friend has been confiding in me about issues the child has with my friend. Is it fair to tell the mother about these conversations?
June 3, 2016
You just know she's going to eat the whole thing, then say she didn't like it.

What to do? Picky pal cleans plate, then complains to get free meal

Behavior at restaurants is leaving a sour taste.
May 20, 2016
Abby Elliott as Brooke makes a rude comment to Jill Kargman as Jill on "Odd Mom Out."

Confront mean mom about her cutting comment?

Parent feels judged by "one of those people" remark.
May 14, 2016
A plan for a fun cooking class instead left the winner of a charity bid feeling burned.

Charity auction prize of a cooking class turns into a dud — what to do?

Winner of charity bid wanted a fun cooking class and got only drinks.
April 29, 2016
He’ll nicely unload the dishwasher, but you won’t be able to find the bowls or the wine glasses.

What to do when husband's 'help' leaves kitchen in disarray

He likes to unload the dishwasher, but he puts everything in the wrong place.
April 15, 2016

Son's heartbroken ex insults him on Facebook: What's a mom to do?

My son broke up with his girlfriend after two years. She and I are Facebook friends, so, naturally, I've seen her posts about her heartbreak. I haven't responded, but should I?

How do you dress for working at home?

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