Dear Prudence: Should I reach out to the family of the man my brother killed?

Help! My Brother Committed a Murder-Suicide.

Help! My Brother Committed a Murder-Suicide.

Advice on manners and morals.
Dec. 13 2012 6:15 AM

Making Up for Murder

How do I reach out to a family irrevocably damaged by a member of my own?

(Continued from Page 1)

Dear Stumped,
How amazing that someone might get rejected for a job because the Internet is not full of her idiotic, juvenile activities. Think about how silly it sounds that you would find it reassuring if there were Facebook pictures of her at drunken frat parties or if you could read her deepest Myspace thoughts from high school. As hard as it may be to accept, some people just aren’t that interested in social media and their absence from it does not signify that they were part of an underage sex ring. In doing your due diligence you’ve discovered that as this young woman launched her career, she has a created a professional presence on the Web. She sounds exactly like the kind of person your conservative company would welcome. Don’t punish her because you can’t find evidence of something she has to hide.


Dear Prudence,
My husband and I do not have children, while our combined siblings have 10 children among them. We love them dearly and end up purchasing birthday and Christmas gifts for each. Our family draws names for our annual Christmas exchange with the adults, but each year the number of gifts we purchase is much greater than what we receive. My husband and I work in the nonprofit sector, so Christmas is an annual financial burden for us. We sometimes forego buying gifts for each other in order to purchase for our extended families. What should we do?

—Auntie Scrooge


Dear Auntie,
Yours is another example of how traditions should be flexible so that they can accommodate the changing needs of the family members. Alert your siblings that you need to get out of the adult gift exchange, but you’ll continue to get something for the children for Christmas. Then instead of a present for each, make one donation per family to an organization that will allow the kids to decide and follow up on how their gift—which can be $25 or so—is spent. Kiva and Heifer International are two that do wonderful work and whose lessons will be more meaningful than another toy that’s quickly discarded.


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Emily Yoffe is a contributing editor at the Atlantic.