DEAR AMY: I've been out to the stores with my nieces and nephews, and as children often do when they see something they like, they will say, "Can you get me that for my birthday?" Never one to miss a teaching opportunity with them, my response is, "Never ask someone to buy you something. If someone asks you what you want for your birthday, feel free to tell them. But never solicit a gift." And now for my dilemma. I am going to be starting construction on a new home in the next couple of months. Christmas is here, and if anyone is going to get me a gift, the only thing I really need would be gift cards to a home improvement store, so that I can purchase items for the house. I want to tell family and friends this but feel it would be hypocritical after the sage advice I have given the kids. Can I point people toward what I really want this year?--Auntie Hypocritical
DEAR AUNTIE: No. Asking for gift cards to your favorite store is like asking for cash. Some families have incorporated specific requests into their holiday giving, but -- dear Auntie -- you don't get to bend your teachable moment to suit your own purposes.
Of course, heavy hinting is allowed. Good luck.
DEAR AMY: I am sitting here stunned. I had been discussing with my good friend via telephone why I didn't want my husband (who has a serious neurological disease) to be exposed to something for long hours that I felt could be detrimental to his health. She said something like, "To be blunt, isn't he on the way out anyway, so why would it matter?" I was stunned. Should I just drop the friend?Stunned
DEAR STUNNED: You should bluntly tell your friend why you are so offended by her remark. I suggest something along the lines of, "Your bluntness regarding my husband's condition and prospects was mean-spirited. I was quite shocked when you said that; now I'm just sad." Then you should drop her. Frankly, based on this report, the friendship seems irredeemable.