susan headshot3A Crafty Solution

Dear Aunt Bossy,

            One of my dearest friends is a very talented craftsperson. She makes all sorts of things and gives them to me. Problem is, they are not of my taste, and I feel obligated to use them and display them because she drops by frequently. What can I do? I don’t want to hurt her feelings.


 Dear Marie,

            You turn to another Marie, Marie Kondo, author of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” She is all the rage, and a perfect excuse for you to streamline the gifts!

            Tell your friend that, although you appreciate that she gives you the best of her work (see, no lying; you don’t have to say you love her work, just that you know she considers it her best because she loves you, and you appreciate the thought) you have just read a book – which you must do – and have decided to streamline your belongings. Even though I wonder what Marie Kondo is thinking advising everyone to add a purchase to their belongings, it would be good for you to have her book on the coffee table to back up your words.

            Since Marie recommends keeping only those things which bring you joy, you will probably have to find a storage spot, and re-cycle the gifts on a regular bases, determined by when you expect your friend to visit. That way, she will always see one of her things and her feelings will not be hurt. 

            You can also ask, “Would you mind if I give that beautiful (thing) to my darling niece? I know she would love it.”

            This is such a difficult situation, and it won’t be easy for you, but it is admirable that you love your friend enough to go to the trouble. If you are a “collector” of other things, you will be forced to streamline those, too, in order to justify your decision about your friend’s gifts. That might be a good thing.

            I admire you.

            Good luck,

            Aunt Bossy


To Tell the Truth


Dear Aunt Bossy,

            I have just found out that a person who used to be a good friend of mine, with whom I now have pleasant but rare interaction, lies.  She has told people that I did something – something she asked me to do for her, every detail of which she approved – and that she “can’t believe” I “would do such a thing.” (It wasn’t criminal or evil, so don’t worry.)

            Since that came to my attention, I have thought back and realized that she lies about a lot of things, most of which are unimportant and are just a symptom of insecurity.

            I still care about her and don’t want our friendship to end.  What should I do?

            Trusting Tara

Dear TT,

            Do what the rest of her friends, who most probably recognize this flaw in her, do. Ignore it and/or correct her when she does it. No one is perfect, and you will be doing her a favor. 

            Also, please don’t let this influence you to question everything she says or to approach other relationships with a lack of trust. 


            Aunt Bossy