Ask Amy

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 at 6:28pm
Amy Dickinson

DEAR AMY: My husband and I have an etiquette question that we've struggled with for a few years. We are good friends with a couple who we always say are "very good people to people." They treat their friends wonderfully, and if anyone is ever in need they are the first to pitch in.

The problem is that they are very bad people to the planet.

My husband and I are not obsessive environmentalists, but we try to do our part.

When we dine at these friends' home, the only water we are offered is in single-serving plastic bottles. They find it rude that we insist upon tap water.

The most difficult part is that they do not recycle anything — not the plastic water bottles, not glass, not aluminum.

They live in a city that has a recycling service.

We are unsure how to handle this. We can't stand to see wine bottles and cans in the trash.

Is there a way we can effectively address this with them?

— Eco-concerned

DEAR CONCERNED: Your interest in your friends' personal habits places you on the border between concerned and obnoxious. Noting what items they place in their garbage containers is intrusive. What your friends choose to do with their household refuse is really none of your business.

You could attempt to influence them, however, by sharing your own story. Say, "We've had a lot of success in our neighborhood with recycling; you'd be amazed at how little garbage you end up dragging to the curb each week if you just separate it and recycle."

Your friends may report to you that they do recycle — but it hasn't occurred to them to do it in front of you. Whether or not you believe them, you should let the matter lie.

DEAR AMY: I've been dating my boyfriend for about a year and a half. About three months in, he had to move far away to complete his degree. When he left, it put us in a strange limbo where we were together but saw each other only every few months and were not sure if we were going to remain together. It was hard on both of us.

Now we're living in the same place and have been seeing each other regularly for six months.

I know I love him, and although I am in no hurry, I want to spend the rest of my life with him. He is kind, and we enjoy spending time together.

The only problem is that he has told me that he is not sure if he loves me.

I know that saying "I love you" is a big deal for him. He has said it to only one girl, and he regretted it.

I'm worried that if he's not sure if it's love by now, he never will be.

Should I end this and keep myself from getting more involved and more hurt, or am I overreacting?

— Worried

DEAR WORRIED: When your boyfriend says "I'm not sure if I love you," he's not saying, "I love you, but I can't say the words." He's saying, "I don't love you — yet."

If you know you love him and have told him so, you're living with a pretty distinct emotional imbalance.

Only you can know how tolerable this is. You might be moving too fast for him, but in my view, 18 months is long enough for someone to know his feelings — or offer you some assurance that his feelings are growing.

You might help your boyfriend figure out how he feels by giving him the space and privacy to work this out on his own.

Set him free. He may come back to you more able to express his feelings with certitude. Either way, you'll have your answer.

DEAR AMY: I laughed out loud when I read the letter from the lady being insulted by being offered a "senior discount" at a restaurant.

A few months back, after a very long day, I stopped at the department store to pick up a coffee pot; the gal at the register, asked "senior discount?"

I'm 53!

I looked at her and said, "Why? Do I look like a senior?" and she said, "No, I just ask everyone older."

I presented a 15 percent coupon I had, and she told me it had expired.

I looked at her calmly and said, "Yes, senior discount, please," which she gave me. I left with a smile!

— Peggi

DEAR PEGGI: The "senior discount" even erases fine lines and age spots. Well done!

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Filed under: Lifestyles

2 Comments on this post:

By: BenDover on 4/29/09 at 7:31

Worried... you should cut him off and see what happens.

If he steps up the relationship to your liking then get back into it... if not find someone who will appreciate you more.

He sounds like a shack-job to me and if that's not what you're looking for then should look somewhere else.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 4/29/09 at 12:02

shack-job? lol......