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Wed, Nov. 20

Dear Annie: Politics tear siblings apart

Dear Annie: I am a 71-year-old man. My relationship with my 66-year-old sister is damaged, seemingly beyond repair. We have not spoken in at least two years. After having been close siblings over many years, our only current communication is through birthday cards.

The reason has to do with politics. She and I have polar opposite ideas about the current administration. I have no problem with that whatsoever. Everyone has his/her own political views. What I do have a problem with are her incessant tirades on social media, specifically Facebook, which is akin to putting her views on a Times Square billboard.

Though I have strong political opinions, I post nothing about them on social media, because I want to maintain cordial relationships with all my family members, friends and neighbors, whose politics are diverse. On the other hand, my sister does not seem to care that her preaching-to-the-choir posts, though they may make her feel good, alienate many members of her own family, as well as half of all other Americans.

I would like to approach her about this situation in a way that could mend our tattered relationship but don’t know how. Any light you could shed would be valued and appreciated. -- A Sad and Hurt Brother in Florida

Dear Sad and Hurt Brother: I can empathize with how frustrating and hurtful your sister’s rants on social media are to you. Ultimately, you can’t control what she posts, but you can control your exposure to it. You can do this by unfollowing her, which is different from unfriending. Click the three dots in the upper right corner of her post, and select “Unfollow (her name).” Once her online persona is out of sight, out of mind, it will be easier to remember the real person, the little sister whom you grew up with and love. Then it’s time to put aside your differences and pick up the phone. Tell her you miss her. Don’t even bring up politics. If she tries to, steer the conversation away from it; although it might not feel like it at the moment, there are so many other things to talk about.

I think she’ll be glad to hear from you. You’ve been sending each other birthday cards, which shows that you both care about keeping up a connection. That’s all the common ground you need to begin rebuilding your relationship.

Dear Annie: In the past, my wife has gotten 13 to 15 prescriptions filled/refilled from our local pharmacy, which is part of one of the largest drugstore chains in the country. She needs only nine now, but the pharmacy keeps calling to refill prescriptions, some of which are not in use now and some of which will need refills two to three weeks in the future. She has told the pharmacy that she doesn’t want the automatic refill calls, but she continues to get them. Any help from you? — Harassed by Pharmacy

Dear Harassed: No one needs a constant reminder of all the medications one is on. I called a branch of your pharmacy and was told that you must call the pharmacy where you have them refilled and ask the pharmacists there to “inactivate the automatic refills.” Try again and use that exact language. Keep me posted, because if they persist with the calls, I’ll help you take action, including reporting them to the proper authorities. Helping patients is one of the best things in the world, but pressure tactics to push drugs are some of the worst.

“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to

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