How Do I Keep My Parents From Moving In With Us?

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Once the pandemic lockdown began last year, I brought my elderly parents from New York City to live with my husband, our adult children (who also came home) and me in our home in the suburbs. My parents stayed until July. Since that time, they’ve seen for long weekends and other stays ( driven back and forth ). My problem: I dont want to live with my parents but theyve begun hinting that theyd prefer to live with us or spend the summer with us, though they never explicitly say so. My parents are extremely old, but they’re able to take care of themselves. (I do their huge shopping for them.) I love them, but I don’t want them here full time. How do I handle this?

MARIA

I get the two-step of your parents’ shy hints and your reluctance to hurt their feelings. Still, I think the kindest thing here is to have a direct conversation with them. Living with you or staying put aren’t their only options. Why don’t you help them explore some other possibilities?

Start with a simple statement: “You know how much I love you, but I don’t believe it would be good for me or my marriage for you to move in with us. I was thinking, though, you might like to consider some alternatives to living in the city. ”

Based on their financing and, perhaps equally important, the vibrancy of the social network in your home, they may welcome a move to an apartment or an assisted-living facility nearer to you. They can even try it for a few months before they make any final decisions.

You would likely see them more often this way, but they wouldn’t be under your roof. And helping them locate clubs or affinity groups of interest may ease their move to another location, so they aret totally reliant on you. On top of that, you tackle their hinting productively by helping them make a decision based on their true alternatives.

Charge…Christoph Niemann

I’m in high school and looking for a summer job. I planned with my sister and sister that we’d all work together at precisely the exact same location. My cousin wants to work at a coffee shop. But when I applied, they never got back to me. I don’t know if they got back to her either. I was recently offered a job at a produce market, which I think I’d like better than working in a coffee shop. I still want to work with my cousin though. Would it be OK to take the job in the produce market even though we all agreed to work together?

M.K.

It might have been a tad optimistic to think that one little business was going to employ three blood relatives for the summer. Out of respect for your joint strategy, however, why not circle back to your cousin and sister with an update ?

Say: “I never heard back from the coffee shop. But I did get an offer from the market, which I’d like to take. Can I put in a good word for you there, or are you still holding out for the coffee shop? ”

My husband and I relocated to another city for work. His brother agreed to look after our apartment until we chose whether to sell it or rent it. After we left, my brother-in-law asked my husband if he could bring his girlfriend from a different town to keep in our apartment for an unspecified period. This made me uneasy : He still lives with his wife, though he claims they sleep in separate bedrooms and plan to divorce. But I like his wife, and I’ve never met with his girlfriend. I said no. Now, my brother-in-law is furious with me. Should I relent?

POSSIBLE PRUDE

It’s not unreasonable (or prudish!) To deny your brother-in-law’s request to let a stranger utilize your apartment — as a love nest or otherwise. It’s your house ; you and your husband get to choose who stays inside.

This question becomes even easier (for me) given the amorphous state of your brother-in-law’s union and the probability of awkward parties with your sister-in-law later on. Let him find a place on Airbnb for his girlfriend! Needless to say, unless you have security cameras, you’ll probably never know if they use the apartment anyway.

During the pandemic, I’ve been giving haircuts to individuals in my pod. I’m not a hairdresser by any means; I’m only great at following YouTube directions. 1 friend has been so happy with my haircuts she stated she won’t have to go to her stylist anymore. Now that my friends and I are completely vaccinated, how do I tell them nicely that my services are no longer available ?

ANONYMOUS

Next time a friend asks for a haircut, just say: “I’ve hung up my shears for now. It was a lot of pressure to not mess up. ” Or, tell them you’ve joined the ranks of celebrity stylists who charge many hundreds of dollars (some as much as a thousand) for a chop. Either approach should take you off the hook.


For help with your awkward position, send a query to SocialQ@nytimes.com, to Philip Galanes on Facebook or @SocialQPhilip on Twitter.

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