Annie's Mailbox

Ask Amy column

Q. This New Year’s Eve, my best friend’s husband acted inappropriately toward me. I didn’t say anything; I just shrugged off his advance and left, and I haven’t seen him since.

He has never acted this way before and was very intoxicated at the time. I’m not excusing his actions but I wonder if it merits a response, either to him or his wife. Last year I cheated on my husband, came clean, and have worked hard to rebuild my marriage. I will never do that again.

I wonder if he knows about my indiscretion and thinks I am “easy” now. I worry that he might be acting this way toward other women and may be successful if I don’t say anything, but if I do say something to my friend, will the damage be irreparable? I want to look out for my friend, but I’m not sure I can face the consequences of reporting this.

Soberly Reflecting


A. You should respond to this — partly because it is still bothering you (it’s pretty challenging to successfully “shrug off” an unwanted advance) and partly because the person who did this should be given a verbal smack in the kisser. He needs to be put on notice that this is unacceptable, drunk or sober.

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You’re an adult. Put into words what bothers you. Speak with the offender, not his wife.
I give you 95 percent odds that this man will say he is unaware of his actions, and in his embarrassment he may lash out to blame you. Don’t be drawn in to a conversation about your behavior. This is about him.

Q. I live in a brownstone building with three apartments and have a neighbor question. I am throwing myself a birthday party at home. One set of neighbors is great, but the other neighbor has turned out to be a bit of a nut case. Regardless, I really don’t want to invite either of them but feel this strange sense of requirement to do so. What is your take on this?

Worried in Chicago

A. When you share a living space with other people (through a shared entrance or adjoining apartments), the protocol is to notify your immediate neighbors that you will be having a party and ask them to excuse, in advance, any inconvenience or noise your shindig might cause.

If you are planning a small gathering there is no requirement to put your neighbors on notice, nor should you feel obligated to invite anyone you don’t want to share your special evening with — a neighbor or not.


Q. “Furious Teen” wrote you about her bullying teacher. She definitely should have notified the principal of her school that the teacher took her and her sister on a field trip without a permission slip.

This teacher endangered his credential by so doing. In California, students must have a permission slip — one on file in the school office and one with the teacher — that authorizes medical care in case of an emergency.

A teacher was removed from my school and from teaching because of his bullying behavior. This student should write down her complaints and give them to the principal, with the support of her parents. This man should not be teaching.

Concerned at School

A. As I said in my answer, a teacher taking students on a field trip without parental permission exposes all parties to potentially serious consequences. Many readers responded to this letter with stories of being bullied by teachers; I am hopeful that with increased awareness of bullying at school, students will be aware of their rights and be proactive about reporting abuse.

Send questions via e-mail to or by mail to Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611.