Dear Annie: I recently had to move back into my parents’ house due to financial hardship. I’m 23 years old and have rarely asked them for any sort of help. But I receive a lot of grief, sarcasm and jokes about my current position, and this is from my entire family.
Meanwhile, I have two older brothers who rely and depend on my parents for everything. One lives at home, and the other is struggling with a drug problem and divorce. Yet in my parents’ eyes, they are complete angels, and I am the “troubled child” because I asked for help when I absolutely needed it.
I don’t want to feel like a dog with his tail between his legs anymore. What can I do?
-- The Boy Who Cried Help
Dear Boy: It’s likely that you are being picked on because it makes those on the lowest part of the totem pole feel superior. It’s the only way your brothers have of feeling better about themselves, and your parents back them up because they fully expect you to move out, and they still have to deal with their other sons.
We know it’s not fair or justified, but this is what happens when people think they must drag you down to their level. Ignore your brothers, and ask your parents to stop treating you so poorly. Do your best to get back on your feet, and find other living arrangements as soon as possible. We’ll be rooting for you.
Dear Annie: I recently attended a volunteer appreciation lunch for my local Meals on Wheels. This is a great organization, and once a year they invite the volunteers to lunch. We buy raffle tickets, and there are generous door prizes given.
This year, several members of our city council were invited. I was shocked when several of them won raffle prizes. One council member had his name called three times. I realize anyone can buy a raffle ticket, but this luncheon was for those of us who donate our time and money to deliver meals to those in need. I think they should have returned their prizes to be awarded to a volunteer. Most of my co-volunteers agree with me. What do you think?
-- Shocked Volunteer
Dear Volunteer: We agree that giving the prizes to people other than volunteers was tacky, but we assume the organization was trying to raise money through the sale of raffle tickets, in which case, whoever bought them can win, and what they choose to do with those prizes is up to them. Yes, it would have been gracious to donate the gifts back to the organization (or to the volunteers), but they are not obligated to do so. The problem is, this sort of thing leaves a sour taste for the others and can have a negative impact on future volunteer work. Please talk to the organizers of the event and let them know how poorly this went over.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “RLS,” who doesn’t like to ask for separate checks when out with friends at a restaurant.
When we go out with really good friends, we get one bill and divide the cost by the number of people. If one person buys a much more expensive meal or drink, that person pays a little more.
However, sometimes one person will order an expensive bottle of wine and still want to split the tab evenly. I think this is rude. I get the impression that these people purposely order more expensive items so they don’t have to pay the entire cost.
RLS should not be so quick to judge friends because they want separate checks. I know that I do not like to pay for other people’s extravagances, nor do I expect others to pay for mine.
-- Paid My Fair Share
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