My roommate is a bit of a hoarder. She’s always buying unnecessary decorations, bulky athletic equipment, musical instruments she doesn’t know how to play, and ridiculously huge containers of jams and sauces. She’s entertained by her new purchases for about a week, and then never touches them again. All this junk takes up space, and our recycling is always filled to the brim with Amazon packaging. How do I tell her she might be a hoarder?
Up to here!
Dear Up to here,
Sounds like you are in a bit of a tight squeeze, literally. It’s always best to pick a strategy that deals with facts rather than (what will likely be interpreted as) labeling or judging. If you want to, you can start small with comments that are grounded in truth like, “Do you think you are going to use all these jams and sauces because we’ve run out of cabinet space in the kitchen,” or “If you not using this nordic-ski anymore, would you consider donating it so we can actually use the living room? I already have a drying rack!”
If these ideas don’t get you anywhere, you could stick a toe in the hoarder water by asking her, “Julie, you buy so much stuff you don’t need or really even want, what do you think that’s all about?” But few of us have the kind of relationship with friends where you can say, “Julie, I think you’re a hoarder.” If you do, go for it! You could also tell her, “Julie, I love living with you but there is so much stuff in the apartment, I have to consider relocating to get more space.”
See what she says. And if you have to kiss Julie and all her stuff goodbye, at least it will be an easy move because if this doesn’t make you a minimalist, nothing will!
I love our neighbors, their kids are delightful and in the summer we schmooze over the fence with them all the time.
But their dogs are another story! They let the dogs out in the backyard all the time and the dogs bark like crazy, setting off a cascade of barking from other dogs throughout the neighborhood. We can hear the roar even inside our house. Our neighbors are sheepish and apologetic about the situation but they don’t do anything about it. Any advice?
Snarking about barking
Unless you are a dog whisperer, I’m not sure what you can do about these rowdy hounds other than ask your neighbors to limit their outside time to an hour or two a day. It is their backyard and their dogs. However! Noise pollution is a real thing and that’s where they do have responsibility to limit the yapping. There are dog training classes around and boot camps for the very badly behaved, but doggie boot camp with a trainer is prohibitively expensive.
The good news is that you have a really great relationship with these neighbors, and the best approach is probably to invite them over for dinner and just be forthright. Tell them how much you adore them and also how much their dogs are driving you crazy. Explain how disruptive it is, even inside your house, and ask them if they have any ideas to address the situation. Working together is a good start and I hope this prompts them to do a little research.
If not, suggest it. It seems to me that dogs that bark constantly have some issues. I mean, I love to bark too, but even I have to take a break once in a while! As for my issues….gotta go!
My boyfriend and I have been dating for four years. I asked him if I can come to his family’s house for Christmas, and he said it would be “awkward” even though I’ve met them several times. I don’t feel great about it. Should I be concerned this is a sign of the end?
What the hey?
So much missing information! Gabby needs the deets! Did you question said boyfriend about why your attendance at his family’s Christmas celebration would be “awkward?” Could it be, perhaps, that you guys are liberals and his parents are conservatives? Or that they have four cats and you are allergic? Or that he doesn’t get along with his family so that every visit is awkward, with or without you? These are vital pieces of intel.
His remark seems like a very strange comment to a girlfriend of four years who, one would assume, is part of the family by now. Nevertheless, give him the benefit of the doubt and get to the bottom of that comment by drawing it out of him, even if it takes Roto Rootering, which it sounds like it might.
Depending on what he says, you may have to decide if what he is offering in terms of partnership, honesty, trust and intimacy (whatever those words mean for you) is enough. After this episode, you never know…you may decide you like the awkward family better than you like the avoidant boyfriend!
Dear Gabby appears in the RoundTable every Monday. Yes, Gabby is an advice columnist – but not just any advice columnist. Because that would be boring! Gabby combines wisdom with wit. And a pinch of snark. She is not a trained therapist by any means, but has seen and loved many in her day. Her aim is to make you think while she makes you laugh. Gabby welcomes all questions and queries and is only too happy to hear your opinion, no matter how much it may diverge from hers. Write to Gabby at email@example.com.