Written by Sasha

Hi Sasha, I’m 23, and have been off on my own working overseas for about a year now, in a place that's very VERY small. A little over a month ago I met MM, who had just moved here doing just about exactly the same thing I'm doing. Since then we've been on some pretty nice dates, and see each other like clockwork every Friday night at that same bar. The only thing that was cramping our budding relationship was the fact that he has a traditional work week (Saturdays/Sundays off), while I had Sunday/Monday off.. Last week I found out that my days off are shifting... to two weekdays, and this past Sunday was going to be my last Sunday for a long, long time. Friday came around, I met MM at the bar, and told him as much. We had one of the best Friday nights ever together, and he seemed really excited about hanging out on Sunday. We'd planned a pretty nice 'last outing ever'. Sunday rolls around... I don't hear anything. I decided to call him and see when he wanted to hang out, and when I finally got a hold of him he sounded like death. It turns out (apparently) that the night before he had gone to a friend's barbeque and gotten trashed. Trashed to the point where the next day is a complete write off. He said he'd call me in a couple hours. So I spent the day alone, a bit mopey, but still hoping the evening would have something nice to salvage the day.

Evening comes, MM calls. He's apologizing profusely, still sounding like he's going to drop dead any second. Needless to say, I was a bit more than disappointed. I spent our last Sunday ever alone and ended up listening to apologies through gargling noises. My philosophy on men has always been that "men cannot hurt you, but your expectations of them can". Am I only hurting myself? Was I in la-la land when I thought that he and I were going somewhere (in life?)... or am I over-reacting? I'd like to give him the benefit of the doubt but at the same time - how can I ignore that he knew this was important to me?J

J, let me cut right to it. You’re over-reacting. Sure, it’s a piss off that your plans with MM didn’t pan out the way you had hoped. But there’s really no need to find a deeper meaning to it other than dude went out on a bender and was hung-over the next day.

But I get it. You’ve moved to this small town with probably little to look forward to in terms of your social calendar, so being bailed on doubles the lame factor. But I’ve gotta say you’re being a tad too sensitive. Look, I’m a big planner and when plans go to sh-t it’s really hard for me to suck it up. But that’s MY issue and the fact is, other people don’t operate on my freaked out time schedule. Sometimes you just have to roll with the punches. Obviously it’s not ideal that you weren’t able to spend the day together but whatever, it’s not like you’ll never see him again.

You and MM seem to have a good thing going so I would hate for you to give him some major ‘tude over something like this. Much like you, he probably feels a bit isolated and lonely too. So, when he saw the opportunity to throw down and have some fun, he went for it. If anyone should understand something like that, it should be you.

The way I see it, people drop the ball sometimes and it's not like what he did was awesome, but you shouldn’t start building emotional walls over it. On the flip side J, if this becomes an ongoing issue – then it's time to reconsider. But if it’s a blue moon boozer, I think you can let this one slide. And sure, I’m all for you expressing that what he did f-cked up your day and made you sad, but that’s all I think should be said. Nothing more nothing less. If he starts to feel like you’re mommy-ing him, it's a quick buzz kill. And J, we all know you don’t put the real lockdown on your partner until AFTER they say I love you…

So I moved to California from New York about a year ago and rent property from my family. I started hanging out with my cousin who I had not seen in a long time. At first it was fun and she would take me everywhere and introduce me to people but I began noticing some selfish traits of hers that I ignored. Fastforward to about a month ago, we decided to go to the beach with one of her friends. We also decided to smoke a little beforehand. We rented some bikes but it soon became clear to me that I could not ride because I felt faint. I almost fainted and decided to sit down and told her to go ahead riding and I would sit down and meet them at the restaurant in an hour. My cousin got upset and decided I was ruining her day and that we should just go home. I was the one who drove there and instead of driving home, she told me I would have to wait until I feel better and drive home because she was not going to drive my car. We did not speak for sometime and then she randomly called me and started talking to me again. Recently we went out and she allowed one of her friends to disrespect and when went over to some family's house I had a headache and wanted to come home but she said I would have to wait because her nails were not dry yet. She is very selfish and never see's herself as wrong, never apologizes and takes advantage of everyone. I have also learned from being here that she has lost a lot of friends due to her attitude. My question is should I still try to work on this relationship or just stay away from her. I know she is never going to change and I have gone through too much in my life to allow a family member to cause me any distress. I hope you can help and thanks in advance. T

Here’s the thing: while I’m all for getting rid of toxic people there’s a bit of a grey area when it comes to family. The reality is everyone has at least one rotten manky fruit on the family tree, and I’ve always been taught to be respectful no matter what. Which reminds me – am I the only one who is dying to see the Judds? I can’t wait. Ashley’s the rotten manky cow fruit, right? (Lainey and Duana, I demand that you guys talk about this in the live blog)

But back to you, T. It’s obvious you don’t feel good about yourself when you’re with your cousin, so step one: axe her out of your social circle. BUT when it comes time for family gatherings … I think that’s a whole different story. Look, there’s no need to be a dick to her just because she’s been one to you. You know? So my advice is to be pleasant with her in these situations, because as soon as you start showing signs that there’s a beef…. every goddamn twice removed aunt will be up in your biz. And that’s a sh-t storm you’ll want to avoid.

Now I’m not saying you should lie down and have her treat you like crap. If she continues to throw sh-tty remarks your way, then I think you should call her on it. Just do it in calm manner. Be honest and let her know that you don’t want to be around her negativity.

What seems to happen with people like her is that inevitably one day they look around and realize there’s no one left; they’ve got nobody. So T, by you cutting her out of your social life, this might just be the reality check she needs. If she gets a grip and changes her attitude – great. If she doesn’t then who cares, because you’ve already secretly faded her out. See how that works?

We recently moved into a beautiful row home in Baltimore, and although we're renting for now, we're thinking of putting in an offer to buy it next year. We love everything about it... except for the horrible yapping animals that live next door. The pack of 2 large dogs bark constantly during the day time and often during the evening. We've had very few problems of middle of the night yapping, which makes me think that maybe the pups bark only in their owner's absence. But today, I was blessed with a day free of appointments, and so I decided to work from home, which was full of PJ's and coffee and production until about 1 PM, when the incessant yapping began. It is now almost 6 PM, and I'm conceding the ground and heading into the office for some peace and quiet. So here's my question: How can I broach the naughty dog behavior with the owners, who I've said hello to once or twice but would be hard pressed to recognize in a crowded room? Believe me when I say that the barking is loud enough and constant enough to make us reconsider our potential purchase of this beautiful house (and we're both pretty forgiving dog lovers!).~SoS

SOS, from what I gather you basically want to tell your neighbors that their dogs are acting like giant assholes. But since you can’t come right out and say that to their faces, here are a few ways you can go about it.

I think what you have in your favor right now is time, so SOS, if I were you I’d suss out the situation a bit more. Work from home a couple more times and see if the noise is an ongoing problem. If it is, then I think your first move is to sit down and write a note. In a polite way let them know that their cute dogs have been rather active of late and the barking is causing an all-day disturbance. As a p.s. leave the name of a good dog walker they can call. If you have the balls go ahead and sign it, but I’d probably be more chicken shit and make it anonymous. Either way fold that sucker up and slip it through the mailbox.

Now I just thought of something. If you rent there’s the possibility that they might too, right? You should really check on that, because if they’re renting, then that opens up the possibility of contacting their landlord and filing a complaint through him/her. It takes the weight off of you.

If these options don’t work out then I think your next move is to call Animal Services. I know it sounds pretty extreme, but all they do is come in and check to make sure the dogs have enough food, water and are being cared for. Oh and this will of course send the message that someone in the neighborhood is concerned/pissed.

Lastly SOS, check out this site: www.barkingdogs.net for some other helpful tips on how to deal with this situation.

Now if all of this still results to zip, then I hate to break it to you, this might not be the perfect house for you. (Lainey: word up on this. It could very well be a feng shui sign NOT to buy.)

Good luck and I’m sure there will be a lot of animal lovers writing in with their own advice so I’ll pass that along to you as well!

File photo from Wenn.com/Sidewalk