Emily Yoffe, aka Dear Prudence, is on Washingtonpost.com weekly to chat live with readers. An edited transcript of this week's chat is below. ( Sign up here to get Dear Prudence delivered to your inbox each week. Read Prudie's Slate columns here. Send questions to Prudence at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
A: You demonstrate your maturity by saying, "I do know the statistics, and I understand your concern. But we are two people, not a national average, and we are confident about our choice and hope you will be happy for us." Then having said your piece, decline to engage in further discussion about your engagement. But since you've written to me and I'm a meddling busybody, let me add that when older people hear a teenager say, "I know I will be with my fiance for life," it's hard not to feel that she's so very young.
Q. Who's To Pay?: My roommate was having a party at our house, so I invited a few friends as well. Unfortunately some people drank too much, including one of the friends I invited. This friend ended up breaking an expensive candle holder that my roommate received as an engagement gift from her grandmother. My roommate has been trying to get this friend to reimburse her, but he's been making excuses and avoiding her. It's now obvious he has no intentions of paying. She has now asked me to replace the candle holder. She thinks it's now my responsibility as I invited him. I think it's his responsibility and it's not my fault if he's acting like a weasel. Who's in the right here?
A: Your friend was not only drunk, now he's acting like a jerk. Since he is a friend of yours, you could tell him he needs to make good to the best of his ability on what he broke. But the bigger jerk here is turning out to be your roommate. Things happen, stuff breaks. She may have a great future as a tort lawyer if she's determined to find someone to pay, but it's outrageous that she's decided it's you. You can tell her that you've spoken to your friend on her behalf, but that's all you can do.
Q. Unemployment: You know, your friends may be "riding their 99 weeks," but the fact is that they are living much closer to the bone than before. I was unemployed for six months and waited to start unemployment. When I did start, my unemployment checks were for about 25 percent of my normal salary. Fortunately, my wife was still working and we very cautiously dipped into our savings and managed to only spend about two months' worth of emergency savings for the six months I was unemployed, but it was still very uncomfortable to me to be unemployed for the first time in my 24-year work history. I went from a six-figure paycheck to $400 twice per month. So, even if they are riding the unemployment train, they aren't doing so on champagne and caviar. So just remind yourself that you still have your full salary while they are coasting on a much smaller salary.
A: And other letter writers mentioned the unemployed friends may just be putting on a good face so as not to be downers and describe their actual fear. Unless the unemployed friends really are saying they're loving their paid vacation and are not going to look for at least a year, give them the benefit of the doubt.
Q. The Neighbor's Dead Cat: Why not send the old guy an anonymous letter that his cat was killed and put all minds at rest?
A: This is about last week's column about the woman who accidentally killed the neighbor's cat. I agree an anonymous note is a good idea.
Emily Yoffe: And thanks everyone for your good questions and ideas. Talk to you next week.
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