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Advice Column: Response to “Closed In”

Dear Hailey,

My spouse is from a small tight knit family with no extended family. We were recently invited to go with them from CA to AZ for a visit to the Grand Canyon. We agreed to go, took the time off work and got everything in order to make it happen. One day before the event, her family decided it would be a good idea to get an RV instead of staying in the hotel we had planned. What should I do?

Closed in

Dear Closed in,

I gather from your letter that you aren’t on board with the idea of staying in an RV with your in laws. It’s always frustrating when you have agreed to do something a certain way, and then it gets changed all of a sudden. Especially on the eve of the trip.

A family vacation is one thing, but all staying together in an RV is definitely something different entirely. If you aren’t comfortable staying in an RV with your in laws, you need to communicate that.

Talk to your spouse first. Find out how she feels about this. Let her know this is something that you aren’t comfortable with. Whether it be the lack of privacy that is causing you stress, or simply being closed in together in a small space. Communicate that to her. Then approach this together with your in laws as a team.

It’s always good to approach these things with compromise. If they are wanting to sleep and travel together in the RV, then maybe consider offering up that you and your wife can travel in the RV, but you will sleep in a hotel. Maybe you could rent an RV of your own and wagon train with them. Offer up whatever compromise you are comfortable with.

Ultimately, you need to decide if you would rather power through this trip in a situation you aren’t comfortable with, or have an upfront conversation. The conversation will probably be more uncomfortable initially, but it will be shorter than an entire trip.

Family situations can be delicate and stressful. Approach it with openness, and a willingness to compromise. Good luck, and enjoy the Grand Canyon!


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Advice Column: Response to Anonymous

Dear Hailey,

My best friend has had a giant crush on this guy that doesn’t like her back for a long time now. She is, quite frankly, obsessed. All of our conversations revert back to him. And she doesn’t seem to realize that she is worth so much more than this guy, who is, in reality, a player and total jerk. But all she sees is the two times he was nice to her.

This has been going on for almost two years now, and it just keeps getting worse. Everyday she feels like crap because she concludes that the fact that he didn’t look at her means he hates her.

I want to help her so bad, but every time I try to she tells me I don’t understand, and that there’s no way I could. So how can I help her? I’m desperate for any piece of advice that could begin her process of moving on and help her realize he is not the one.

Thank you!



Dear Anonymous,

Almost everyone at some point in their life has found themselves interested in someone who doesn’t return their feelings. I had someone write into the advice column last year about their friends that they were interested in consistently viewing them in a non-romantic way. (You can read that here if you are interested). It’s a common problem. Almost a rite of passage. But that doesn’t make it suck any less.

Tell your friend that just because this boy isn’t interested in her, it doesn’t mean she isn’t attractive. It doesn’t mean she isn’t worthy of love. It doesn’t mean anything other than one person’s opinion. One of my very favorite quotes of all time is:

“Your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.”

Someone else’s opinion of us DOESN’T MATTER. It just doesn’t. Your friend is not worth any less just because of one person’s (that guy’s) inability to recognize her awesomeness.

Another topic that’s worth discussing is self-esteem. Most individuals struggle with self-esteem at some point in their life. Unfortunately, teenagers and young adults struggle with this more than any other group. It’s a tumultuous time in life, there are so many changes happening and decisions that have to be made that it can take a toll.

If you’ve seen the movie (or read the book) “The Perks of being a Wallflower”, you may have already heard this quote. “We accept the love we think we deserve.”

If someone doesn’t think they are worthy of healthy, happy, reciprocal love, they don’t seek after it. They find themselves constantly going after unhealthy relationships, and since they believe that is what they deserve, they settle for a less than awesome relationship. Your friend, like everyone, deserves to have someone who cares about her. No one deserves to be second choice. No one deserves to be treated poorly. No one.

It sounds like you really care about your friend, and you are worried about her. Know that she’s lucky to have you looking out for her and trying to help her realize her true worth as an individual.

Counseling is a great option for someone with low self-esteem. It can help them break out of the unhealthy thought patterns and create better, more productive thought patterns. Here is an exercise that I do with clients in counseling who are experiencing low self-esteem: Write down 10 positive things about yourself. Only a portion of these can be physical characteristics (No more than 3). Have someone who cares about the individual (You, or someone else close to her), write down 10 as well. If you have the type of friendship where you would be comfortable bringing this up to your friend, suggest it to her.

I also want you to note that you can pass on some of this information to your friend, but ultimately she has her own choice and self-determination to do what she pleases. I hope that she chooses to move on and find a guy and a relationship that are worthy of her, where she can receive the respect she deserves.

I wish you and your friend luck!


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Advice Column: Response to Fair or Share

Dear Hailey,

I have been married to my husband for 15 years. I came into this marriage with pretty much nothing but love to offer. I have given and received plenty of that. My husband is very comfortable financially. I signed a pre-nuptial before we were married. After 15 years I am wondering if I am wrong for what I’m feeling.

My husband has three boys of his own and I have only one girl. His children never think to wish him Happy Birthday or Father’s Day for the most part. And when they do get gifts for him they are usually worth pretty much nothing. i.e. a picture of them. Even though they range in age from 30-42, none have children that they are responsible for. And the only reason they come around on Christmas is for their hearty Christmas check.

My daughter on the other hand buys for him for all three even though she is not financially blessed and has 3 children. It’s never anything lavish but it is a very nice gift nonetheless. But because I gave up my job once we were married (with my husband’s blessing!), I have no money of my own per say.

My husband is very giving when it comes to money and never tells me no that I cannot have something – BUT I never really ask. He is amazed how little I ask for but I came from no money and have always been frugal. I actually still go to garage sales and visit thrift shops for most of my clothes. But what is bothering me is that every Christmas his kids get their hefty checks for $1000-$1500 and I only write a check for mine for $150. I have never asked if I could write it for more but then he IS AWARE of what I write it for.

Am I wrong after 15 years to expect that my child get the same amount as his? Please let me know.

Fair or   Share



Dear Fair,

You simply need to approach this topic with your husband. I think you already know the answer to your question, and I agree, it’s not unreasonable to expect the same amount for your daughter. From what you have shared in your letter, I would be surprised if he said no to you increasing the amount of your daughter’s Christmas checks. And it sounds like you know he would be fine with it as well. He might have assumed that the amount you write to your daughter year after year was the amount you felt was appropriate and didn’t want to meddle. It’s a conversation that needs to happen, and I would expect it will go just fine.

It also sounds like you have some insecurities about asking for money from your husband. Know that money is a tense subject for almost everyone. You’re absolutely not alone there! There is nothing wrong with being frugal and thrifty (I’m sure your husband appreciates it as well), and frugality really is a lost art. However, even considering the pre-nup, (which as you know, doesn’t determine anything about your finances other than in the case of a divorce), you are a family unit. A blended family specifically, which is still a family unit just a little more complicated. Families share. Your husband loves you, and wants you to have what you need and want. From your letter is  is happy to support you, financially and otherwise.

Something else that stood out from your letter is what you wrote about his children. It’s definitely hard to feel that someone we care about is being taken advantage of. That is a whole other conversation if you want to approach it. Your husband is probably well aware that his kids come primarily for their check, but he’s likely happy to spoil them and have the chance to see them. However, it’s always better to bring your concerns out in the open if you feel strongly about it.

If you have concerns about finances, or other issues, talk to your husband. Open communication is key when it comes to marriage.15 years is a fantastic foundation (and an impressive accomplishment!), and I am confident that you can work this out and bring your concerns out in the open. I wish you luck with this!


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Advice Column-Stuck with Clingy

Hi Hailey.

For a long time, I’ve had a certain friend who bothered me. When I was little, I would dislike her but continue to hang out with her because she lived close to me. She was on my bus every day and impossible to avoid. As I grew older, I learned the “clinginess” I hated was actually due to a kind of social processing disorder. As I got older, I hung out with her less and less. She starting clinging onto a new friend. But that friend moved schools, and now I’m stuck with clingy. Wherever I go, she goes, and due to her disorder she lacks complete social awareness. Her hanging around is a constant irritator for me, and some of my friends don’t want to hang around me because they know she will be there. One of my friends, though, likes clingy, and that has also irritated me.

I’m not sure what to do. Should I continue letting her hang around me and annoy me year after year? I feel awful asking her nicely to hang out with other people because of her disorder. Any advice would be great.


Stuck with clingy


Dear Stuck,

I do not recommend you continue as things are. You have your own needs, and it’s ok to recognize when a relationship is causing you unnecessary distress.

While it feels easier in the short term to just internally be frustrated and avoid that conversation, long term it’s causing you more issues. It sounds like her constant presence in your life is exhausting, aggravating, stressful, and draining. This is affecting your other relationships, and causing you a large amount of negative stress. Overall, it’s just not healthy for you.

Honestly, you simply need to bite the bullet and have a difficult conversation with your friend.

Here is an example you can choose to use, model your conversation after, (or completely ignore, your choice!) “I care about you, but I need a little bit of space. I enjoy spending time with you, but I also need time for myself and other friendships.” Be as specific as necessary. Set boundaries as far as what you expect from her if you feel it is needed.

This conversation might not go well. Be prepared for that, but don’t let it discourage you from starting the discussion.

You mentioned that you have a friend who likes her. That would soften the blow a little to send her in their direction so that you can have time with other friends. An example of this could be, “So-and-so really enjoys your company, when you and I aren’t hanging out that could be someone that you could spend some time with”. If you meant “likes” as in a romantic way and you aren’t comfortable with sending her in their direction, then don’t feel obligated to.

Another option (in addition to the difficult conversation), would be to join a club together. It’s a great way to meet friends with similar interests to help spread her net a little wider. It could be a gentle addition to the tough conversation you have ahead of you.

I would also encourage that you refer your friend to seek counseling. While the clinginess you describe is associated with a disorder, it doesn’t mean that she can’t change and improve on her social awareness. Many people seek counseling to help with coping with disorders and the behaviors that go along with them. I definitely recognize that this one might be a tough one to bring up in a conversation. If you know someone who went to a specific professional and had a good experience, or if you met with one yourself, these could be some organic lead ins to bring this up to your friend.

If none of these work further down the road on getting you the time you need apart, be prepared to end the friendship if necessary. It is essential that you take care of yourself and your own mental health, as harsh as that sounds. However, do all you can to maintain/salvage the relationship, and if you are concerned that your friend is going to do something drastic (suicide, any type of self-harm, harming anyone else, etc.) as a result of this, contact an adult that you trust IMMEDIATELY.

This isn’t going to be easy, but in the long run it will much healthier. And who knows, your friend could possibly meet someone that is comfortable with the level of interaction and time spent together that she needs.

I wish you luck!


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Advice Column: Response to Muddled

Dear Hailey,

Recently, my friend had spoken of an Internship near us. We are both High School students, looking for a job. The Internship sounded cool, but I decided to apply to a few fast food places near me instead. Fast forward two months, and no luck. Not one place had called me back. In desperation for a job, I remembered the Internship. I checked the website: Still hiring. I filled out the application, and within 3 days heard back. I think they want me, as they informed me they had skipped phase one of the interview process, and wanted to go directly to phase two. The said company is a somewhat prestigious software company, and I feel that my working at this company could help me immensely in the future.

However, when I told my friend that they wanted to interview me, my friend become very jealous, understandably. He knows a guy who works in the company, and he and the guy have been trying to get my friend into an interview for a month now. And I just waltz in and immediately get asked to be interviewed? I’d be frustrated too. I fear that if I get the job, my friend and I will no longer be friends. We have been very close friends for almost 3 years now, and have been with each other through the good and the bad. I don’t want a mere job to ruin all that we’ve built.

Luckily, one of the local restaurants has emailed me, saying they’d be interested in hiring me. However, they are a small company, and pay minimum wage ($7.25) and according to other High School employees, they have poor hours, usually only scheduling you in once or twice a week, for 3-4 hours. Whereas the Software Company is very flexible with how YOU want to work, and is offering $11.00 an hour.





Dear Muddled,

I’m going to be very upfront with you. While it’s important to value friendship, a true friend wouldn’t want you to give up on an amazing opportunity simply because they are jealous. It sounds like you have already been putting yourself in your friend’s position to consider their feelings, and I want you to do it again. If the roles were swapped, would you want your friend to give up on this opportunity to spare your feelings? I would imagine you would likely want them to pursue this.

Also, it’s important to consider that you working there could quite possibly open up doors for your friend. Internal references, (especially from stellar employees) can carry a large amount of weight. The next time a spot opens up, their chances of receiving an offer for a position could be increased due to your positive reference for them. I saw that you wrote that they already know someone who works there, but more than one positive reference goes a long way. Two positive references might be the pull that your friend needs to get an interview.

You are absolutely right about this helping you with future employment. Working for a software company will definitely do more for your future opportunities than food service.

If you are worried about telling your friend of your decision, try something like this: “I know that you are upset that this job was not extended to you. I value your friendship, but this is a really great opportunity, and my working there could open up opportunities for you as well”. Phrase it in a way that you are comfortable with (I’ve been out of high school for about 10 years, so I’m definitely not an authority on how high school students talk), but the important aspects are to acknowledge their feelings, let them know how much you value their friendship, and also let them know of the future doors this could open for them.

Congrats on such an amazing opportunity. $11 an hour is an amazing pay rate for a high school student. I wish you luck with the interview, and with your friend.



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Advice Column- Always a Bridesmaid

Dear Hailey,


I am a fairly new new-comer to your blog and was reading through some past advice column posts and decided to post my own question, or share what’s on my mind. I am single, but honestly I’m pretty happy about it- MOST of the time. I haven’t met the right guy yet. I would rather be single and happy than married and miserable or, not happy in a marriage and I feel very strongly about those convictions. I refuse to settle. But, through the years as my friends get married (and most of them are) I have been heavily involved in helping them plan their weddings whether it be local or even if they are on the other side of the country they still call and need input, etc.

I love that my friends involve me with their special day and take my opinions seriously- but SOMETIMES it’s just hard. I mean, I don’t want to sound like sour grapes here but there’s that part of me that sighs inside and thinks “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.”

I guess it’s natural to feel this way but I was just curious on your thoughts. I am really happy for my friends and I especially enjoy being a part of the wedding and other festivities. I’m an amateur photographer and taking wedding photos brings me joy! Dating has always been a struggle for me because most of the guys I get involved with turn out to not be as great as I’d originally thought and it always ends- but in retrospect I’m GLAD that I didn’t end up with any of them.

I’ve dodged a few bullets. My good friend sent me something that said, “My prince charming is not coming on a white horse, he is obviously riding a turtle somewhere, very confused.” I laughed so hard at this because, it’s true! Perhaps I should think of this at the next wedding I attend and laugh to myself. Thank you for your time.

Always a Bridesmaid



Dear Bridesmaid,

You are wise to approach the prospect of marriage with caution. It is a decision that has a large impact on your life, and definitely shouldn’t be taken lightly.

It’s natural to want to be with someone, it’s how we’re wired as humans. We seek out companionship, romantic or otherwise.

It’s also normal to feel some dissonance when we recognize a gap between where we are, and where we want to be. It’s an uncomfortable feeling, but it serves an important purpose in personal growth and progress. However, when you aren’t sure what you want, or how to get it, it can make this uncomfortable feeling even harder to understand.

You have put into words what all people have experienced at some point: A longing for something they are not sure that they actually want.

It sounds like on the one hand, it would be nice to have someone. On the other hand, you mention you have had some bad experiences.

Relationships are hard. People can be disappointing at times. It’s also hard when you find that most of your friends are in a different phase of life than you.

Listen to yourself. Think about what you picture as a happy life for yourself. Think about what that means for you, and not just in regards to relationship status. I wish you luck!


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How to Stop From Falling Over the Edge

We’ve all been there, everything is just hunky dory and suddenly, it happens. You start to feel an impending sense of dread, of anxiety, or a giant wave of depression that makes you want to turn around and go back to bed. Maybe something triggered this, but maybe it just appeared out of nowhere, like a monster in an unfortunate magic show.

What do you do now? Here are some options to avoid spiraling into a full blown depressive episode or panic attack:

1. Take a quick inventory of yourself

Have you eaten today? Taken a shower? Are you dehydrated? Are there any basic personal care tasks that you’ve neglected that could be dragging down your mood? Taking care of your body is essential to avoiding depressive and anxious episodes.

2. Get a change of scenery

Ideally, go for a short walk if possible, or even a drive. If the weather won’t allow, or if you are at work and can’t leave, or stuck at home with a napping baby, then switch rooms or go sit outside. At the very least, open your curtains and let some natural light in. Maybe open a window and let in some fresh air. Ahhhh. Breathe it in. That’s nice.

3. Change your clothes

This isn’t always possible, (such as if you are at work or simply away from home) but maybe you need to get out of your yoga pants and into something nicer? Or maybe out of your uncomfortable clothes into something a little more cozy? A fresh outfit can change your perspective.

4. Take a spiritual inventory of yourself

Have you been neglecting your spiritual needs? Consider some prayer, meditation, or scripture study to help improve your mood and prevent a panic attack/depressive episode.

5. Call a friend/family member

If possible, meet in person. There is something about mental illness that causes us to isolate ourselves, but this is the complete opposite of what we need to do when it rears its ugly head. Call your significant other, your mom, your best friend, your sister…anyone who has your trust.

6. Change tasks or take a break

Are you working on a task that is exacerbating your negative emotions? Step away for a minute, and approach it with a fresh perspective later.

7. Find a distraction

We need to process our emotions and they can’t be ignored, but there is a big difference between processing and wallowing. Sometimes we just need to pull ourselves out of a pit of despair. A funny video, a book, or anything that will take you somewhere else for a few minutes. Personally, I don’t like social media as a distraction in this context because I feel it could do more harm than help in this situation.

How do you stop from falling over the edge? Let me know in the comments below!

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You Have More Than You Think

I had the opportunity to visit Baltimore for a work trip earlier this month. We decided that we would jaunt over to DC before we headed back home, since it was just a train ride away. While we were in DC, we visited the Holocaust museum. It was a harrowing experience, but an event that needs to be remembered.

After reading and seeing the contents of the exhibits for the 3 hours we were in that museum, it seemed incredibly disrespectful to carry on with my usual posts. At least with out acknowledging the haunting things I witnessed, and express some gratitude for what I have been blessed with.

Learning more about what happened all those years ago made all of my current worries seem…small. Insignificant. Unimportant. Even a little silly. I have enough food to feed my child. I have a comfortable home. I’m allowed to live and work where I wish. No one is threating any of my basic rights, my family, or my life.

I have so much to be grateful for. You do too. Try not to get caught up in what you don’t have, or what has gone wrong in your life, and think about what you have been blessed with. You have more than you think.

I’ll be back with my usual posts before too much longer, but the worries that seemed so big before, like my son’s slowness to achieve developmental milestones, or my inability to get what I want to get done just don’t seem like the looming difficulties that they did a few weeks ago.

Our problems don’t disappear knowing that someone has (or had) it worse than us, but it’s important to recognize that if you have a roof over your head, safe living conditions, access to food, and the ability to live as and where you wish, you are dang lucky. Everything else is just extra.


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My Son is a Milestone Slow Poke


My little guy is kind of a slow poke.

I don’t mean with running, because that kid is FAST. I mean he’s slow with developmental milestones. He was slow to crawl, slow to walk, and slow to talk. (But he was 9 pounds at birth, and got all of his teeth well before 18 months, so there’s that).

Like many naive new parents, I always thought my kid would be the fastest kid to learn new skills, and achieve milestones. He was going to be breaking records and just impressive all around. A Guinness book of world record baby for over all genius-ness and brilliance.

That vision didn’t materialize, and I currently have a sweet, beautiful baby who isn’t in a hurry to achieve milestones at a fast or even traditional speed.

Here’s the deal: His doctor isn’t worried, so I’m not worried. Well, let’s be real here, I’m my usual level of nervous wreck about this as I am with everything else. So all in all pretty good for me.

In all seriousness, my kid is happy and healthy. His speed at achieving milestones doesn’t reflect on his intelligence, my intelligence, my parenting ability, or anything really. He’s just a kid, discovering the world at his own pace, albeit a slower pace.

He’s a toddler, and I’m not in a hurry to make him to grow up. He’ll get where he needs to go, but on his own timeline. And while it is definitely not what I expected when I entered motherhood, this has been a good exercise for me in patience and humility.

Milestones are just that, markers on a long journey. He’ll get there. And if we get to the point where we need to seek help for him? We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Do you have a kiddo who was exceptionally slow (or fast!) at achieving their milestones? Tell me all about it in the comments below!

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When You Can’t Seem to Get Crap Done

Before I had my son, I was the queen of productivity. I could clean the entire house in one afternoon. I would make a to-do list, finish everything on it and then some. If I wanted something done, I got it done.

Now that I have entered motherhood, most of what I can accomplish is limited to the small window of nap time. If I attempt chores any other time, they are constantly interrupted by tiny hands that need love and attention. On top of that, ever since becoming a mother my ability to focus isn’t what it used to be. That to-do list I used to be able to bust out in one afternoon takes a few days.

This is honestly one of the changes in my life I have struggled with the most in motherhood. Trying to find time to accomplish what I need to get done, what my family needs, and somehow maintain some semblance of sanity.

I’m still working on remembering that my value isn’t determined by what I can accomplish. No one is grading me on what portion of my to-do list gets done. It’s fantastic when I can get things done, but when I can’t, that’s ok too. It’s ok to stop what I’m doing when my little guy needs me, or even if I just need to steal a few moments for myself.

I’m working on remembering that it is necessary and essential to take time for myself. Time for toddler cuddles. (When my busy little guy slows down to cuddle of course).

I’m not any less of a wife or a mother if I can’t accomplish everything on my list.

If everyone is taken care of and happy then that is what matters.

What has been your biggest struggle with transitioning to motherhood? (Or fatherhood?).



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