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DEAR HARRIETTE: My mom won’t stop throwing my stuff away. For years, my mother has not shown respect toward my personal belongings. She often uses my things without asking, loses them, and even takes it upon herself to give away the things that she feels that I do not need. I’ve asked her several times to simply ask me before throwing my stuff away, but she never does. This has been going on since I was a child. As a young adult, I still live with her as I am saving money to get my own place. I cannot afford to move just yet, but I desperately need her to respect me and my things. How should I handle this situation? — Stop Touching My Stuff
DEAR STOP TOUCHING MY STUFF: Assess the belongings that you have in your mother’s house — and yes, that’s what it is, even if you feel like it is your home. What can you put away for safekeeping? What would disturb you if it suddenly disappeared? Figure that out, and then invest in a trunk that you can lock. Put your valuables in that trunk and make sure that you put the key in a safe place. If your list of valuables will not readily fit into a trunk, consider renting a small storage unit in which you can store these items until you are able to move.
Of course, you should also speak to your mother again, this time as an adult. Thank her for allowing you to live with her while you get on your feet. Add that it continues to bother you tremendously that she rummages through your belongings and gives away your things without your blessing. Tell her that you consider that a violation of your personal space and ask her to stop.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have extreme anxiety when it comes to flying. Years ago, I read about a commercial plane crash, and I haven’t been the same since. My friend recently offered to fly me to her hometown via an airline that has received hundreds of bad reviews for flight safety. I would love to see my friend, but I do not feel safe flying with the airline that she is offering to use. Should I tell my friend that I would prefer that she buy me a ticket on a different airline? I don’t have the money to buy my own ticket, but I would pay the difference in the flight fare. — Fear of Flying
DEAR FEAR OF FLYING: Talk to your friend. Remind her that you have a severe fear of flying and that as much as you want to visit her, you are having a hard time as you think about getting there. Thank her for offering to pay for your flight. Then tell her that you are uncomfortable with the airline that she has chosen. You have done your research and learned that this airline has hundreds of bad reviews. Ask her if she would be willing to apply the money that she was going to pay for your flight on that airline to another one, and you will pay the difference. Do note that she may have reward points with this airline that allow free or deeply discounted tickets. Find out what she is willing and able to offer toward the cost of another ticket. This will let you know if you will be able to take this trip.