Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.
DEAR AMY: I am a 30-year-old professional woman who owns her own home, has a stable career and lives a couple of states away from my parents. My boyfriend and I have been dating for more than a year and have decided to move in together. We have had very candid conversations about when we’d like to get married, discussed financials, having children, etc. We feel we’re in a great space to move in together, but my parents are completely against this and would be incredibly disappointed to find out we made the move. I’ve never been rebellious against my parents’ wishes, but I don’t think it’s reasonable to wait until we’re married to live together. I should also add we will not be able to afford the wedding my parents expect us to have unless we can figure out a better budget, which living together will help with. I’m torn between doing what I know is right for me and my boyfriend and not “disobeying” my parents. I’d love advice from you and your readers.
Caught in the Middle
DEAR CAUGHT: It is possible to respectfully disagree with your folks, and to carry on living your own life, knowing that some of your choices may disappoint them.
If this is the first time in your life that you risk disappointing them, then you’re about 20 years later than most of us. Your parents must be very powerful people. I assume that you love them very much. But your lack of prior experience could be why this is so difficult, now.
If you and your boyfriend have solid plans to get married, then perhaps you should get officially engaged. This might make things more tolerable for your folks (maybe not — do not get engaged for their sake).
What you shouldn’t do is to hide this from them. You also should not entwine this choice with your statement that saving money on housing now would permit you to have the wedding your folks want you to have later. That argument rings hollow, even to me. Don’t insult your folks by going there.
Tell your parents. React calmly and lovingly if they act out. Accept that this is hard for them. And then go ahead and live your life the way you want to.
DEAR AMY: I have a friend who is very wealthy and a very nice person. However, whenever we meet, he has a habit of telling me how much he paid for things (it feels as if he is bragging, rubbing it in). For instance, he would say, “Guess how much I paid for these pair of shoes? $600. Guess how much dinner cost me last night? $275,” and so on. I never guess, and I simply don’t say anything. Quite frankly, I don’t care to know how much he paid for everything he purchased. That extra piece of information is redundant for me. What’s the best way to tell this friend that I don’t really need to know how much he paid for everything that he bought?
DEAR PRICE: My theory is that this is not one-upmanship, but more an expression of pride. Every time your friend repeats how expensive something was, he tells himself, “I made it.”
However, I agree that this is confusing, annoying, and — yes — tacky and boring.
You might start with asking him why he does this. You say, “I’ve noticed you often tell me the prices of things. Why is that? Honestly, I never know how to respond.”
Listen to his answer, and then tell him, quite honestly, that this feels like bragging and one-upmanship. Tell him you’re more interested in him than his wallet.
DEAR AMY: How do you feel about tipping hairstylists who work for themselves?
Unsure in Indiana
DEAR UNSURE: I feel really good about it.
My own rule is to tip anyone who has to touch me as part of their job. This includes the owner (if the owner is also the Amy-toucher).
If you have a question about this, you could ask the receptionist when you make the appointment, “Does Denny accept tips?” You will be told that it is not expected, but appreciated.