Short Answers

By Jeff Johnson and Paula Forman 


Dear Short Answers:
This is a tiny problem but it bugs me all the same. I am well past middle-age but trying to feel as young as possible. My neighbor has three small children and she insists that they call me “Mister Albright.” I say “call me Nick” but their mother insists. I know they are trying to be polite but don’t I have a say in what people call me?
Just Nick

Dear Nick:
Mom is trying to teach her kids how to address adults and we say “good for her!” Ask if you could split the difference with “Mr. Nick” if that suits you.


Dear Short Answers:
I am really struggling over what to do or not do here. Our daughter is in college and has a boyfriend who seems somewhat effeminate. My husband and I have wondered if he might be gay. We respect our daughter’s privacy, but wonder if we have a responsibility to ask her about this at some point, depending on where the relationship goes. Trying to be understanding and respectful.
Still Confused

Dear Still:
You may be right and you could be wrong but advice or questions that are uninvited are more likely to produce bad feelings than insight.


Dear Short Answers:
I am often told I am very kind and polite to people, often when they don’t deserve it. Recently, a person I know on a professional level attempted to embarrass me at a town meeting in front of 60 people. I am upset that 1) this person showed poor taste to do this to me publicly, and 2) I did not have an opportunity to approach her after the meeting to straighten things out. I am tempted to take the high road and move on, but there is a part of me that is ticked off and wants to unload on her (politely — ha, ha). I’m not sure what will help me bring internal closure to this — move on and forget it or tell her off and perhaps feel a bit remorseful that I let her get to me.
Grateful for Short Answers!

Dear Grateful:
If after 48 hours post meeting, your irritation has not passed – do tell her how you feel. Privately.


Dear Short Answers:
My daughter from a first marriage is disabled and my wife and I partly support her and my grandson. Once in awhile her ex doesn’t pay support and we can never decide how much more help to give. The judicial system isn’t quick enough to help. It causes some tension at home. Any ideas?
Standing In

Dear S.I.:
Since this is a re-occurring event, perhaps you and your wife need to decide how you want to handle it and then stick to your guns. What you decide is less important than deciding together once and for all.


Dear Short Answers:
Our 22-year old son who is now living 3,000 miles away is happy to ask us for help when he needs it and we’re not adverse to reasonable requests. But he won’t keep us up on anything happening, not even the ritual Sunday call. How hard should we push?
News Deprived

Dear N.P.:
Don’t push. Grown kids who know they are loved take us all for granted and fly. It’s the ones who hover around that you should be worried about.

Life is complicated.  Short Answers isn’t.

Send a question about whatever is bothering you to [email protected] or go to and a psychologist and sociologist will answer.  A selection of the best questions will be printed every week in KonkLife.

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