Originally Published: March 22, 2016 6 a.m.
Dear Annie: I live with a friend who wants the house to be neat all of the time. But his personal habits are disgusting.
“Bruno” washes up in the morning with a washcloth that he leaves on top of the hamper. He takes a shower once every two weeks. He coughs and hacks and spits into the trash can by his desk. He gets black newsprint on his fingers when he reads the paper and then it gets all over our white walls when he touches them. He is diabetic and disposes of his bloody test strips and tissues in a garbage can in the kitchen. Next to the table. Where we eat.
How can I tell him to be more sanitary? I get so nauseated by his habits that sometimes I want to move out, but I can’t afford that option. When I speak to him about it, he gets crabby. – Disgusted Roommate
Dear Roommate: This is what happens when people share living quarters – you have to find ways to live with those traits that irritate one another. We recommend putting a trash can with a flip lid in the kitchen, so his tissues and test strips are not visible, and the container is easy enough to use that Bruno won’t drop the tissues on the floor. You can do the same with the one by his desk. Do the reverse with the hamper – replace it with one that has no lid, so everything goes into a basket that can be carried to the washer. Don’t clean up his inky fingerprints. If he doesn’t like to see them, simply direct him to the cleaning supplies.
There’s nothing you can do about how often he showers. We think you should start scouting for another place to live that, with a second or even a third roommate, would be affordable.
Dear Annie: My niece is married and they have three children. Each year, I send my niece a Christmas gift of a significant amount of money for the family. I send a gift certificate for each child’s birthday, and I also send my niece a gift for her birthday.
She never sends a thank you via letter, card, text or email. She never acknowledges receiving the gifts at all. I always have to write and ask whether the gifts arrived, and usually, I will get a response a day or two later.
I realize I don’t send gifts simply to be acknowledged, but it is a courtesy to let the giver know something was received. At what point can I let go of this tradition since it certainly doesn’t seem to be appreciated? She lives in a different state, and I haven’t seen them in over eight years.
If I stop sending gifts, I know she will never once consider that she is responsible. But do I continue sending gifts to someone I consider unappreciative and rude? – Annoyed Aunt
Dear Aunt: You can stop this tradition immediately. Send your niece a lovely card for the next occasion and write inside, “I can tell that gifts seem to create an extra burden for you, so I’ve decided to stop sending them.” Enough already.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. You can also find Annie on Facebook at Facebook.com/AskAnnies. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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