Dear Amy: My 26-year-old grandchild “Sal” (and roommates) lost everything in a fire earlier this year. I reached out through Facebook to lament their loss, and many of my friends responded through donating money generously.
Ask Amy: Angry grandma struggles with grandchild’s snippy response
I contacted Sal and asked how I should get them this money. The response was that they would pick it up sometime in the future from their parents and would share it with roommates.
I know that this young adult is in dire financial straits right now, so I remarked something to the effect that I knew that Sal could probably use the money sooner rather than later.
The response from Sal was: “Please do not give me unsolicited financial advice again. I’m very busy with this gig and can’t help you to set up Venmo. If you can cash the check and give it to my parents, I’ll pick it up from them sometime in the next few weeks.”
I responded (sarcastically) that I was sorry to have offended, and that I could assure Sal that it would never happen again.
Sal responded, “Thank you!” (Obviously the sarcasm went right over their head.)
I truly don’t know what to do. I’m offended by the snippy, self-absorbed response; by the rudeness of it to anyone, particularly a grandmother.
I put the money into my savings account.
I admit I am very angry. To add insult to injury, Sal has never written one thank you email to any of my friends who donated to these funds, despite my sending along their email addresses.
Please give me some guidance here. I’m torn between family duty and giving this young person a lesson they’ll not forget.
— Offended Gran
Gran: You could play this two ways: Don’t respond at all, and don’t do anything, forcing “Sal” to contact you directly regarding the money.
The second response would be to craft a short, warmly-worded email (lose the sarcasm): “You’ve given me many moments of pride as I’ve watched you grow into an adult. This is not one of them. I know you’ve been through a lot, but there are times through life when it is vital that you remember to treat others as you would like to be treated. This IS one of them. My friends and I rallied and answered a need. When you can figure out how to respond to this generosity with gratitude, I’ll be happy to send these funds to you. I’d also be happy (with my friends’ permission) to donate it to your town’s fire and rescue squad. You decide. Love always, Gran. PS: I figured out how to use Venmo!” (It’s easy!)
Dear Amy: I am a well-educated woman, recently retired from a good profession.
After I retired, I was trained in another field: horticulture.
My husband, trained in mechanical issues, ignores any information or advice I provide to help him with “his” plants.
Why can I give advice to hundreds of gardeners a month, but not my spouse?
— Dedicated Master Gardener
Dedicated: The reason you can give welcome and appreciated advice to hundreds of gardeners each month is because you aren’t married to them.
Also, I assume that the horticultural advice you dispense to strangers is solicited, in that these other people subscribe, tune in or seek you out.
I have a Post-it note over my computer that says, “All unsolicited advice is self-serving.” It makes you feel good to help! It also speaks to your well-earned expertise. But oftentimes, people receive unsolicited advice as mainly a spotlight on their own challenges and they take this advice as a tacit critique.
If your husband asks for your help or advice, then offer it. If he doesn’t ask, you’ll have to tolerate your own immense discomfort of watching his mistakes wither on the vine.
Many people learn best by doing — and by stubbornly making their own mistakes. Gardening is in its own category of learning-as-you-grow (in my opinion), because the novice gardener’s blunders reveal themselves in a painfully slow fashion and often can only be corrected the following season.
Dear Amy: I have two words of advice for all of the enabling parents who reach out to you for advice: Tough love!
Robert: Love doesn’t always need to be tough, but it can seem that way when people create reasonable boundaries and let their loved ones learn from enduring their own struggles.
©2022 by Amy Dickinson distributed by Tribune Content Agency