My wife, "Karen," loves to sing karaoke along with many others, most of whom who are vocally challenged. Listening to some of them can be grueling when we go out. Karen knows many of these "performers," and when they finish, she goes and tells them what a great job they've done. When I asked her why she gives the false compliments, she said, "I don't want to hurt their feelings."
Well, the same goes for Karen. The other singers compliment her to the point that she now believes she has a competition-worthy voice. In reality, while her voice isn't terrible, it's nowhere near what she thinks it is.
My wife is the love of my life and the nicest person I've ever known. I'm concerned for the future if someone should ever be honest with her about this because, so far, no one has been. Should I tell her the truth to save her from potential public embarrassment, or should I keep my mouth shut?
- Covering My Ears
DEAR COVERING: Unless your wife decides to audition for American Idol, the chances of her being booed off stage are slim. You don't have to sing her praises, but I see nothing positive to be gained by diminishing her pleasure in performing. The word from here is: Keep your lip zipped.
Child is unsocialized
DEAR ABBY: I have a wonderful, kind sister-in-law I'll call "Margaret." Our sons were born in the same year. She has chosen to keep her son home, while I am sending mine to day care. Both boys are toddlers now. The problem is, my son is socialized, while hers is not.
Margaret's son is mean and unwilling to share or play with my child. He lacks empathy and seeks only adult attention. Because of his lack of socialization and outright unsafe behavior, I don't want my son around him. Am I wrong for not wanting him to be exposed to this behavior?
My husband says it's good for our little one to learn how to deal with mean behavior, since it will make him "tough." However, I don't feel it's our child's job to learn to be tough at such a young age.
- Day Care Accepting Mommy
DEAR DAY CARE MOMMY: Perhaps your son should see this cousin only when they will be closely supervised. Your child may learn to "toughen up" later, but at the age of 2 or 3, it's a bit premature. The child who may be in for trouble is his cousin, because learning concepts like sharing and empathy enable children to successfully socialize with others throughout their lives.
Gifts are given away
DEAR ABBY: I know for a fact that gifts I have given to family members are often immediately given away. Should I confront them about this? I'd like to suggest that instead of giving the gift away they please return it to me. Of course, I know I could just quit giving them gifts. But I'd like for them to know the reason, instead of appearing to be stingy. Anxious for your opinion.
- Anxious in Fort Worth
DEAR ANXIOUS: This is a delicate situation, but it can be handled if you're careful not to cause embarrassment when you tell your relatives you know what they've been doing with your gifts. Perhaps rather than say you will just quit giving them gifts, you should offer to give them gift cards for a store they like. That way they can have something they will enjoy.