I was expecting a package for a while and eventually got it delivered, by my sheepish neighbor, who had opened it ! What ? I was not here when he dropped it off on my porch , but he left a note saying , "Sorry I thought it was for me . ---Dave." I was so confused and I couldn't believe he had opened my mail . Did he want to know what I was ordering ? Was he so excited to get a package that he didn't look at 'MY' name plastered on it ? I am not one for confrontation , but I am definitely fuming . I want to march right over there , but I do not want to accuse him of anything . Maybe he did make a mistake, but my mail has the right to remain private ! I'm worried about this happening again . Should I just leave a note with a response on the back of his door ? I want to tell him to check his mail , and I will check mine , too .
Dear Mail Bandit ,
Take a few deep breaths and calm down before you do anything . Understand that your neighbor could have opened your box, been embarrassed, and kept it without ever telling you of his error . Illegal, but it happens all the time . At least he returned your package and apologized.
Take your neighbor at his word unless it happens again.
You have to live next door to this guy. Bad relations with a neighbor are very hard to live with and always tend to escalate, making you uncomfortable in your own backyard. The next time you see him, thank him for returning the box and for the note. If this is a one time offence, you'll be glad you didn't lose your cool. If it does occur again, then you will have speak to him and tell him to please read the label before he tears a package open next time. In fact, offer up that you both should be more mindful before opening the mail .
One of my good friends , Kate, and I finished working on an island for the summer season . As the season ended , we had a talk about how although we love each other, we could never be in a relationship without everything going up in flames . We are great friends to each other and we keep in touch the whole year . This year ended any hopes that each of us had of being together . It feels like we always used to be each other's backups for life partners , but now that safety net has been cut . It's been a few months since this conversation and I'm wondering if we had made a mistake . On one hand , we get along well and feel a deep connection to each other ; however , we are very similar and fight often . I don't want to string her along , but I always want to be close with Kate .
Is there any way to do that without falling back into the talks of being in a relationship ?
Dear Summer Love ,The answer is in the third line of your letter. You both concluded you could never be in a relationship together.
You have good instincts. You would not have said it if you did not know it to be true. Neither one of you is ready to commit to each other at this time, or perhaps ever. If you were, you would not happily go your separate ways at the end of every summer. If you were deeply in love you could not stand the separation.
So step back and allow a little time and distance to take place and see how you feel. I think most everyone has had a summer romance. It is like a rare orchid, it does not survive well outside of it's rarified environment. Without the excitement of beautiful summer nights by the water and the holiday atmosphere, those love affairs often shrivel and fade away. But they are great memories.
I think you have a awesome friend, maybe even an intimate friend. Enjoy it and treasure it for what it is.
Someday, when you get together with Kate in a different, more every day environment, you may want to explore the relationship again see if you both still feel the same.
Dear Maxy ,
My 35-year-old son "Edgar," has been diagnosed with major depression and is receiving disability . He currently lives in an apartment on my parents property .
Since Edgar is currently vehicle-less , I've been helping him with grocery shopping , etc . Last week , after a bout of extreme allergy symptoms , his depression escalated and he texted me , saying , "I don't care about anything anymore . My life is worthless ." He claimed he had no food left , but refused to let me bring over groceries . He said he didn't care if he wasted away , although he promised not to kill himself .
Over the weekend I texted him , but there was no response . By Monday , I was frantic . I reached out to his physician , leaving a message with the assistant , emphatically stating that my son promised he would not harm himself . He just didn't want to eat . I told the assistant that it was crucial that I speak to the doctor before an intervention . Well , this inept nitwit conveyed the wrong information to the doctor , resulting in a call to the police inquiring about a welfare check . And instead of talking to me , the doctor phoned my parents.
Then Edgar called , ranting that I have totally messed up his life because I told the doctor he was suicidal . I phone the doctor , who apologized profusely for the confusion her assistant had caused and assured me that she would call my son and straighten things out . I waited another day and then sent Edgar a text , wanting to open communication . He replied , "Forget it , the damage is already done. I can't go back to that doctor." He said he was going to move far away where no one could find him . What do I do ?
Dear Drama ,
You need to give Edgar some breathing room . Although he may actually be grateful that you care , this much attention to his health might be overwhelming him . Send a calm text , saying you love him , you're sorry you upset him and that you hope he will get back in touch soon . I know you are worried , but there is only so much you can do without his cooperation .
You can contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness at 1-800-950-NAMI (ami.org ).
You mentioned Edgar has some rather serious allergies. If he has been treated for depression with drugs and the medication has not worked well, there is a strong possibility his depression is being caused by allergic reactions.
Food allergies such as sensitivity to wheat and dairy can cause depression. Exposure to molds can cause depression. A nutritionally poor diet with high sugar content can affect the chemistry of the brain and cause depression. In fact new studies have shown that the body's response to all kinds of inflammation can and often does cause depression. All these things change the chemistry of the body and in turn, the chemicals passing through the brain.
Do a little reading at the websites below. It gives you another avenue to try. I have a strong hunch Edgar's depression, at least in part, has a biological cause.
Dear Maxy ,
At a dinner celebrating my mother's birthday , one of her friends announced her opinion on the current refugee situation . Our opinions ate polar opposites and my mom's friend , Carol , believes no one should be let into the country . I was the youngest at the table and I did not expect to be brought into a conversation with people 2 to 3 times my age . However , Carol turned to me and asked me if I agree with her . I hate debating and political conversations around the dinner table . I did not want to engage her and was a bit surprised I was being brought into the conversation . I blunted out I that I didn't have an opinion . Carol seemed a bit confused , but i'm not sure what else I could've done to avoid a debate . I am not sure if there's a way to tell someone that I do not agree with them and end the conversation without explanations and rebuttals . Did I take the best route out of confrontation with Carol ? I think we all knew that I had an opinion I did not want to share .
Not a Fighter
Dear Not a Fighter ,
While I tend to prefer testy conversations to occur after dinner . I do not think you should shy away from expressing your opinion about hot-button issues . You can do so in a calm manner . But you will have to explain why you feel a particular way . You can say , "Carol , I respectfully disagree with you because ..." It's best if you have concrete information to back up your thoughts .You don't have to debate your point , but stating it simply is the best thing to do, even if it makes you feel a bit uncomfortable . You have to consider the thoughts and feelings of others around you in a social situation and respond.
Dear Maxy ,
I was volunteering at a church sale my church hosts twice a year . It was a slow day and the head of the sale announced to all the volunteers , "Go out and buy something !" I construed this was an invitation to peruse instead of work , so I admired all of the products for the sale and returned to my station . Then the leader looked at me like I was a moron and said , "I told you to buy something . The day is slow !" Eventually , all the volunteers ended up making a purchase and then we was dismissed because it was evident no one else was coming . I feel used . I volunteered my hours and then was coerced into buying something . I did not like this and don't plan on returning to the sale . The purchases were for a good cause , but we were donating our time to the sale . We weren't planning on being forced to spend money . Should I ask the other volunteers if they feel the same way ? I think the head of the sale should be asked to step down .
Dear How Rude ,
Speak to the head of the church instead . Explain what happened and how you feel about it . That person will then speak to the other volunteers and/or the leader and straighten it out.
In any volunteer situation, there is no actual boss and no one has the right to demand anything of you. I am amazed you all did what this person told you to.
Don't hold the sale or the charity responsible because of the actions of one ignorant individual. You will be hurting an organization that is trying to do some good . And you will hurt yourself because you will regret not helping your church group.