There are too many excellent advice columns to keep up with, so we’re committed to bringing you links to the best advice column questions and answers every week. Here’s a roundup of the most interesting, thought-provoking and surprising questions that our favorite columnists (and subreddits) addressed in recent days.
How Can I Get My Husband To Stop Surveilling Me Via Our Smart Home Devices?
In this age of “smart homes,” where everything can be synched up by an app with notifications, are we wrong to feel a loss of privacy?
I work from home, so I am mainly at home during the day.
My husband gets alerts every time the front door is opened. If a package is delivered, he receives an image of the package. He can track the electricity usage from our solar production. He can turn off the lights and open the skylight from his phone.
Today he texted me that I shouldn’t be running the dryer during certain peak hours. He then shut it off remotely!
I have nothing to hide, but am increasingly annoyed that my own actions are being tracked.
He’s micromanaging me from afar!
How should I handle this?
Amy Dickinson advises the letter writer to get out of the house during the day if their husband won’t respect their privacy. “I wish people were more aware of the potential negative impact these devices and systems can have on our personal lives and relationships,” she writes. Read the rest of her answer.
Is It Funny To Intentionally Fall Down And Drop Everything At Work?
I was having a chat with my friend the other day, and they told me that they were having fun at work by pretending to fall down in front of coworkers and dropping all their papers as a prank. They seemed to think it was all in good fun because they never let their coworkers in on the fact that it was a prank (although they did actually hurt their wrist doing this). I was surprised and responded that I thought it was mean-spirited, because it’s making coworkers stop work to care for them as a “joke.”
They’re now angry that I’m judging them for their sense of humor and they aren’t talking to me. If I were this person’s coworker, I don’t know what I’d do, but I do think it would be weird and uncomfortable once the multiple well-timed fake falls became suspicious. What’s your take on this and how would you communicate with someone as a colleague or friend to help them see how this isn’t an okay thing to do? At this point I’m planning on dropping it with this person, but I have no idea how to most effectively bring this up if I were the colleagues being “pranked.”
Alison Green agrees that this “prank” is annoying, not funny. “If I managed someone doing this, I’d have serious concerns about their judgment and would probably take a closer look at their work across the board because it would be so likely that this wasn’t the only judgment problem happening,” she writes. Read the rest of her answer.
Can My Father-In-Law Confine Me To My Room For 24 Hours Because I Took A Call During Dinner?
So my wife and I are vacationing with her family. At dinner tonight, I had to take a phone call and I excused myself from the table. When I returned, my food was no longer at the table. I was told by my in-laws that I was to head to my room without dinner as I was being Insubordinate in interrupting dinner. I’m supposed to stay there for 24 hours. My wife tells me I should accept this to keep the peace. I don’t want to. Am I being unreasonable? Should I accept this punishment?
So They almost punished my sister in law for trying to sneak me food and have turned off the WiFi (I’m obviously skirting that with cellular data.) what should I do to end this?…
i don’t want to give away my exact age but my wife and I are in our 30s
The commenters on the r/relationship_advice subreddit agree that the father-in-law’s behavior is not okay. “Go home. After your wife gets home, go to couples counseling. Describe this incident. Her acceptance of her parents’ insane behavior is a huge red flag,” reads one of the top comments. Read the rest of the answers.
How Can I Get My Boyfriend To Stop Giving Our Puppy The Silent Treatment For Following Me Around?
My boyfriend, “Marcus,” and I recently adopted an adorable rescue puppy, “Daisy.” She was supposed to be mostly my boyfriend’s dog because I work a demanding full-time job, and I have a cat that lives with us. Marcus has always been a dog person, but I enjoy them, too.
The problem is, Daisy has taken a liking to me. When I’m home, she follows me everywhere. I suspect, due to her behavior, that she may have been mistreated by men previously, but nonetheless, Marcus is extremely hurt. He won’t take her outside if I’m home, and he doesn’t try to play with her or train her. Every time she rejects him in any way, he takes it personally.
We signed Daisy up for a puppy training class. He participated for about five minutes before giving up and handing me the leash during the first lesson. How do I get my boyfriend to stop taking our puppy’s behavior so personally? I should note, we went through this when my cat didn’t like him at first, but they are on good terms now.
Abigail Van Buren points out that the boyfriend’s behavior is likely strengthening the puppy’s attachment to the letter writer. “If this is the way your boyfriend reacts to perceived rejection, I’d think twice about starting a family with him if I were you,” she adds. Read the rest of her answer.
How Can I Get My Husband To Stop Adding Barbecue Sauce, Beans, Nuts, Olives, And Berries To The Meals I Cook?
I enjoy cooking. I have lots of cookbooks, and I watch cooking shows and attend cooking seminars. My family and friends enjoy my meals and dishes, helping themselves to seconds and leaving clean plates…
And then there’s my husband. He will supplement my carefully and artfully prepared meals with almost anything he likes that’s not included. For example, I served shrimp and grits (a little Parmesan cheese and scallions on top) with a side of lemony roasted asparagus. He poured barbecue sauce on top and also added pinto beans, olives, Brazil nuts and blueberries.
When I have questioned him, he says that other chefs create unusual combinations — as if he is a culinary trailblazer.
In actuality, it’s hurtful that he doesn’t like my meals and has to hide the taste or enhance the menu. It’s also, visually, a “gag” moment for others to watch him mix this mush together on his plate…
What can I do? I’m not sure I want to divorce him.
Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin encourage the letter writer to allow her husband to add condiments or garnishes, but not other ingredients, to his meals. “You may further remind him that he always has the option of making the meal himself, start to finish,” they write. Read the rest of their answer.
Should I Allow My 6-Year-Old To Put A Temporary ‘Storks’ Tattoo On Her Face For Picture Day?
My 6-year-old recently wanted to put a temporary tattoo on her face for picture day at her school. We have generally been of the opinion that our kids can dress or adorn themselves as they please, as long as they aren’t doing anything permanent or that would get them kicked out of class. However, I didn’t particularly want to have her wear a distracting tattoo on her face for her school picture.
Assuming the school would allow it, would you let your kid wear the tattoo? Does it matter what age they are? Mind you, this was not a small one with, say, a butterfly or stars; it was a palm-sized bright pink square with a picture of a mom and a baby from the movie Storks, with the word “Storks” on it.
Jamilah Lemieux says that she would not allow her child to wear a temporary tattoo on her face for picture day. “Children are now subject to being photographed on any day ending in y, but I still maintain a level of authority over any professional photos that will be shared with other family members, published in a yearbook, distributed to classmates, etc.,” she writes. Read the rest of her answer.