Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.
DEAR AMY: I have been practicing yoga for five years, the past two with one teacher. The lessons are private, so it’s just the two of us, and, as a result, she feels free to chat with me the entire length of the session. I’ve tried giving her one-word answers. I’ve also tried waiting to respond, but she just keeps asking questions and talking. As a result, I am not getting the workout I am paying for. On top of this I find it very stressful to try to be polite while secretly wishing she would just stop talking! I know the mature thing to do would be to tell her I want a quieter workout, but at this point I’ve let it go on so long, she genuinely thinks we are friends and would be extremely hurt. I would also feel very awkward, adding more discomfort to an already unpleasant situation. I want to switch to a new teacher but don’t know how to explain the change. In this situation, I seem to feel equally uncomfortable lying and telling the truth. What should I do?
DEAR NAMA-STOP: You should assume that your yoga teacher would try to alter her own behavior rather than lose you as a client. You should also assume that if she loses you as a client she will also lose you as a friend.
If you choose to switch teachers, then you should honestly explain your choice, so why don’t you explain your choice without switching teachers to see if she can quickly change?
Ask her to meet you a little early for your next yoga session. Tell her, “I have something important to discuss. I want to ask you to change things up in class. I need to push and grow and during class I’d really like to only deal with yoga — I don’t want to talk about personal things or answer questions, unless they’re related to the practice. I need for this to be a quiet refuge from the rest of my life.”
Realistically, she may not be able to instruct you in the way you want. If this is the case, you’ll have to find another instructor and bid her a final “Namaste.”
DEAR AMY: About two years ago my sister-in-law and her new husband decided to become “snow birds” in Florida and spend the summer months at their home in the Midwest. They would be staying with us in our home three times a year, for a week each time. Toward the end of the first week they stayed with us we needed to get a few “items” cleared up. We asked them to please not let the water run in the sinks when they weren’t using them, to turn off the TV, lights, etc., when leaving the house, and to lock the door every time they went out. We had previously mentioned these, but had to get serious with my sister-in-law on the last day. She became very upset and asked if we wanted money for them to stay there! (Of course we don’t.) They packed up and left that day and have not stayed with us since. This hurt my partner very much, as he is very close to his sister. We wrote them a letter saying we were sorry we offended them, but we wanted them to be aware of what we needed from them when staying at our home. My partner and his sister are now on speaking and visiting terms, just not in our home. She blames me for everything. I have tried calling, but she won’t talk. I am not invited to either of their homes when my partner visits. He tries to mend the fences, but it’s just not happening. Any suggestions?
DEAR UPSET: If your partner wants to include you in his interactions with his sister, then he needs to tell her that you two are a package deal and that excluding you from every interaction is unacceptable to him. Would his sister tolerate you excluding her husband from every visit? I doubt it.
DEAR AMY: The letter from “Sad” detailing her emotional affair with a co-worker made me very sad. I engaged in a very similar relationship with a colleague and almost ruined my marriage. I lost years and tears to this other relationship and I have so many regrets. I ended up leaving my job (mainly because of this) in order to save my marriage.
DEAR BEEN THERE: I hope you feel your choice was worth it, ultimately.