July 7, 2020

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Black sheep of family not really such a baaad guy

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 13/6/2019 (390 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I come from a family of six kids, and we’re all adults between 20 and 35. We’re pretty tight-knit, but the oldest is a little trying. He calls himself the "black sheep" of the family because we leave him out of stuff and don’t tell him "family stuff."

The thing is, we don’t do it intentionally. He’s just really sensitive and gets his nose out of joint. Yeah, some of us get together without him, but it’s not like any of us are ever like, "Everyone come to my house — but don’t tell Mr. Over-Sensitive, because I don’t want him here!"

It’s not like we siblings get together and leave him out; it’s just that he’s either always busy, or one of us will be visiting another, and another sibling just shows up, making a small group.

He got exceptionally hurt when the youngest of us was in the hospital and she told only sibling No. 4 about it. We had a group chat and oldest sibling was like, "Why didn’t you call me?" and youngest sibling was like, "Because I’m an adult and didn’t need to?" And now everyone’s up in arms and I’m quite sick of it. I just want everyone to be chill and happy. Any thoughts?

— The Peacemaker, Manitoba

Dear Peacemaker: Make an effort to invite Mr. Over-Sensitive to a few things where half the others have not been invited, like it was no big deal. Buy only three tickets for a ball game or a concert, and just invite him and one other. Don’t even talk about the invitation to the rest.

Tell him you just like to hang out alone with people sometimes, so you can talk privately. Also, invite him to a lunch close to his place of work. If he asks why you didn’t invite the others, say, "Because I have this day off and they don’t and I wanted to see you alone, for fun and a chat." Without pointing out what you’re trying to teach the guy, show him you can’t get everybody together at once all the time — that it’s not personal and it really doesn’t matter.


Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My girlfriend needs a front tooth fixed and I won a bunch of money recently — thousands. I would like to pay for the dental work as a gift for her July birthday because we have been gambling buddies for a long time. The money didn’t come from hard work — it came from gambling.

How do I word this offer so she doesn’t feel like I think she’s too poor to get her own missing tooth fixed, which she is?

— VLT Buddy, Transcona

Dear VLT Buddy: Find out who her dentist is and phone and ask what it might cost to get the front tooth fixed before you offer. It could be more than you won! Ask the dental office if they accept this kind of gift for a patient — with a friend or relative paying privately. I’m sure they do!

When it’s tentatively arranged, approach your friend with the gift idea and see what she says. She has a right to say no, as some gifts are just too big to feel comfortable with. You might tell her you feel guilty about all the money you won and she’d be doing you a favour to accept it. Good luck!

Please send your questions and comments to lovecoach@hotmail.com or Miss Lonelyhearts c/o the Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6.


Miss Lonelyhearts

Miss Lonelyhearts
Advice Columnist

Each year, the Free Press publishes more than 1,000 letters to Miss Lonelyhearts and her responses to the life and relationship questions that come her way.

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