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Sunday, January 20 , 2019, 10:06 pm | A Few Clouds 57º

Dear Annie

Dear Annie: How to Know When Tough Love Is Needed

Dear Annie: Over the past year, I’ve discovered that there are some people in this world who are OK with “just getting by” with what is available — including leaning on or using what another person under the same roof has.

How does one inspire another to get a job and thus the money and things needed for life?

I have supported the one under my roof with encouraging words and actions, such as providing transportation and giving information about job openings. I know that when you’re a relative, you need to give tough love, but what makes a person who doesn’t have any drive become independent?

Is there anything more I could say or do for this person?

— Big Heart but Empty Pockets

Dear Big Heart but Empty Pockets: As long as you continue to act as a crutch for this person, he or she will continue to lean on you. Though your big heart is in the right place with all the assistance you’ve offered, sometimes the best way to help a loved one is not to — or at least not in hands-on ways.

Set emotional and financial boundaries. Don’t do the job hunting for this person. Don’t give him or her any more money unless you’ve got a financial safety net for yourself, you really want to give the money and you truly believe that it will ultimately serve this person well in the long run.

Even more important, make sure you’re not neglecting your own health, hobbies or friendships. In short, take care of yourself and let the person under your roof learn to take care of himself or herself.

                                                               •        •        •

Dear Annie: My stepdaughter just passed away after a lengthy battle with cancer. Her mom was still in her life, and I had been a part of her life for 14 years. We had a very good relationship and spent lots of quality time with her and her family.

What has been upsetting is that the condolence cards are being sent to my husband only. I am left out. I understand she was not “my daughter,” but I am also grieving her loss and feel I should be included. Am I wrong?

I hope others will read this and include the stepfamily, as well, when sending condolences.

— Left Out

Dear Left Out: No, you are not wrong for feeling hurt. She was your family, too. I hope your letter encourages others to be inclusive of all family during the grieving process.

                                                               •        •        •

Dear Annie: Thank you so much for printing the letter from “Be Kind,” who wrote about not shaming older trick-or-treaters. We have several friends who are foster parents. They take in many children who haven’t ever gone trick-or-treating. Some are young, and some are old.

As was mentioned, you never know, so please be kind. To quote a friend of mine, “I’d rather have teens trick-or-treating than getting into trouble anyway.”

— Bridget

Dear Bridget: I totally agree. There’s never harm in erring on the side of kindness.

                                                               •        •        •

— A native Californian, Annie Lane writes her Dear Annie advice columns from her home outside New York City, where she lives with her husband, two kids and two dogs. Her debut book, Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie, features favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette. Email your Dear Annie questions to [email protected]. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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