Ask Carolyn

  • To keep a friend, be a friend

    To keep a friend, be a friend

    Dear Carolyn: Friend recently got married and seems TOTALLY uninterested in spending time with friends, what’s going on in our lives, etc. (We are a mid-30s mix of married/single/otherwise coupled, kids/no kids.) Friend will give reasons she is busy before we’ve even suggested something, or, when we finally do something, comment how it’s “been forever”

  • When Grandma is a big pain

    When Grandma is a big pain

    Hi, Carolyn: I’m a wife and mom of two elementary-age boys. My mom lives near us and is a hard person to be around. She is negative, especially to my kids, and complains constantly. I want to have a relationship with her that isn’t based on negativity but I don’t know how. We invited her

  • Tired of being the bad cop

    Tired of being the bad cop

    Dear Carolyn: What the heck do you do when you and your partner have agreed to eat more healthfully, but then your partner regularly suggests impulse buys that undermine that decision? I don’t want to be the person having a fit in the store because my partner’s going down the ice cream aisle again, but

  • Am I overreacting to his overreactions?

    Am I overreacting to his overreactions?

    Hi, Carolyn: I understand that telling someone “you’re overreacting” is a cheap way to dismiss someone’s feelings, but what if they really are? Frequently? I’ve had many conversations with a family member about what he feels is my insensitive, abrasive communication style. I can see his point sometimes, but I also notice he reacts the

  • Taking care of baby

    Taking care of baby

    Hi, Carolyn: Husband and I are parents of a darling baby girl. Through it all my husband has done the work of keeping the house together, dogs fed and us fed, all of which I appreciate. But, I also feel like there’s a certain level of untidiness people would understand given we are new parents;

  • Mentally ill sib is no holiday

    Mentally ill sib is no holiday

    Dear Carolyn: Any advice on how to deal with my single, middle-aged, mentally ill sibling who will be attending family holiday dinners? Sibling is difficult to get along with, is out of touch with reality, and — even though aware of mental illness — won’t do anything about it. Sibling can’t be excluded because it