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DEAR HARRIETTE: I send my nephew money whenever I can, and he never acknowledges it. I never get a thank you from him or his mother (my sister). I know that he needs the money, and I’m happy to send it, but I can’t understand why he won’t just say thank you. Should I stop? Should I ask my sister what’s going on? — Ungrateful
DEAR UNGRATEFUL: Stop sending your nephew money. If you expect a thank you, which is perfectly natural, and he doesn’t bother to say it, stop giving him anything. Chances are, he will reach out to you to ask what’s going on. That will be the perfect opportunity to teach him some manners. The people in his life — namely, his parents — have not taught him well enough about the importance of closing the gratitude loop, of not assuming that a gift is deserved instead of treasured.
I have seen what we often call “spoiled children” who are so accustomed to being given whatever they want and need without question and end up taking even the grandest of gestures for granted rather than expressing the simple yet profound comment — thank you. Your nephew needs to learn to acknowledge how much he appreciates your generosity. This should be done in the moment. Teach him. Teach his mom, too.
DEAR HARRIETTE: A good friend of mine recently spent a few days with me while he was in town. I was worried about him because of his strange social media statuses and updates, so I was relieved to see him in person and hear that he’s doing well. On his final day in town, while I was driving him to the airport, he started to go on a strange and repeti- tive rant that reminded me very much of his bizarre social media posts. He was telling me about his persecution complex and how he feels that staying in
one city for too long will ruin his life. I think he may be experiencing early signs of schizophrenia, but I’m not sure. What should I do? Should I suggest that he get help? I’m not sure that he would take my advice even if I did talk to him about it. — Strange Behavior
DEAR STRANGE BEHAVIOR: I’m sorry you didn’t ask him about his social media postings when you were together, but it is not too late to talk to him. Follow up and thank him for coming to visit you. Tell him on your call that you noticed something strange about some of his social posts. Ask him what is going on. Add that you noticed him saying and doing some things in the car with you that made you concerned. Describe what you wit- nessed and ask him about it. Let him talk.
If you still think there may be some mental dis- tress, suggest that he see a therapist to talk through the strange things that he seems to be experiencing. Do not label it, because you are not an expert, but do encourage him to seek help.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initia- tive to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org om or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.