Dear Short Answers >> Is it wrong to "disown" your family over politics? My brother is a hate-spewing Trump supporter who plasters his Facebook page with bizarre lie-filled rants. I try to avoid politics when I speak to him but it's just not possible because he always brings it up. We are both in our 60s and basically have nothing in common. Every encounter with him leaves me sad and disheartened. My wife encourages me to stay in touch because he is "family" but when "family" makes you sad, isn't it better to sever all ties and just move on?
— Sick of Him
Dear Sick >> We hear you and a lot of us are facing similar situations — if not with family, then with old friends. Although we have a bias toward long-standing irreplaceable relationships — and surely a brother is in that category — sometimes you just can't take it anymore. But there sure are a lot of them.
Dear Short Answers >> My sister is going on vacation and I am stuck with our elderly mom. I don't want to be pissed off but I am so angry I can hardly be civil.
DEAR PEGGY >> Un-civil is unacceptable. Find another option.
Dear Short Answers >> I know this was stupid but I told my boyfriend "the number" and he was devastated — maybe threatened, but definitely angry even though he asked. What should I do now?
— So Sorry
DEAR SS >> Well, now you know. Just because he asks, doesn't mean you have to answer. Never bring it up again and learn how to giggle.
Dear Short Answers >> There is a new person at work who I suspect is taking drugs. He goes from quiet and nearly asleep to excited and talkative in the blink of an eye — but only after a trip to the men's room. His eyes also look very strange to me. Do you think I should tell my boss about this? I'm not sure if he sees and understands the signs.
— A Person with Knowledge
DEAR PERSON >> No doubt your intentions are honorable, but we do not believe in vigilantes. Unless you are the Drug Enforcement Officer for your company — keep your own counsel. He will out himself.
Dear Short Answers >> My mom is quite old and has become a real hypochondriac. She recites her so-called "symptoms" every day. I want to say "duh, you're old!" Can you think of a more compassionate response?
— I'm No Saint
DEAR NO SAINT >> Maybe she is just trying to tell you what it's like to be old. Most of us have trouble hearing that but perhaps you could pre-empt the medical report by asking her how it feels to be her at this juncture. Maybe it will provoke a more philosophical response.
Dear Short Answers >> It's so hot I want to die. Is there any way I can bail out of a backyard BBQ and stay in my air-conditioned apartment?
DEAR CAT >> No. Gotta go.
Life is complicated. Short Answers isn't.