Q. For the last several years, I’ve been meeting with a small group of friends for a late holiday dinner. This year, the hostess has asked for $20 from each of us toward the cost of the meal, citing rising food prices. We agreed. Meanwhile, I was given a 20-pound turkey and told her that I would contribute the turkey to the meal and therefore shouldn’t owe any money. She said the bird didn’t count since I hadn’t paid for it. I countered that it was still $20 less than she would have to spend. She got mad and called me a cheapskate, but I beg to differ. Which of us do you think is the cheapskate here?
A. I’m with you. Your contribution has value, even if you didn’t pay for it. If your friend wants to host a very low-cost dinner, she can run it as a potluck. I dare say that this is not really about a turkey and a $20 bill, however. If you want this friendship to survive into the new year, you should ask your friend what is really going on before judging her too harshly.
Q. I have a big problem. I am getting engaged to a lovely girl this winter. We met last summer and had a lovely time together, and after that we embarked on a long-distance relationship. We talk many times a day, every day. But lately I have been thinking of my previous lover. That relationship ended three years ago. I know it’s been a long time, but I am still thinking of her and remembering my good times with her, even though we had a bad breakup. I don’t know how to forget her.
A. It is natural to review a previous relationship when you fall in love again. It’s also common to remember the good times more vividly than the bad, but the healthiest perspective is to be less — not more — romantically interested in your ex when you are down-deep satisfied in your current relationship.
You should not propose marriage until you have resolved your feelings about your ex. A professional counselor could help you work this out; so could a good buddy with knowledge of this previous relationship.
Q. I’d like to weigh in on the letter from “Kissed Consultant,” who was shocked when a male client pulled her toward him and kissed her on the lips after a lunch meeting. Honestly, when I read the letter the first thing I thought was that she should have slapped him right across the face.
A. If only real life was like an old black-and-white movie, where a dame could slap a heel right across the kisser. But just as an unwelcome kiss is an affront, a slap is a (potential) assault. Alas, life ain’t like the old days.
Q. This is regarding your advice in response to the letter from “Worst Landlord Ever,” whose tenant had a neglected husky in the house.
While I agree that it may be appropriate to contact animal control, I would also suggest that the writer contact a husky rescue group. They can find an appropriate home for the dog with people who know how to love and train the dog. Huskies are special dogs that, like all working breeds, require a different approach to training than a Lab or retriever, for example.
Huskies are wonderful animals, very intelligent and deserving of an appropriate forever home.
A. As I said in my answer, my heart went out to this dog, which the writer said was neglected and destructive. Thank you for your thoughtful advocacy for these wonderful dogs.Send questions via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611.