DEAR HARRIETTE: My parents have always been supportive of my dreams and aspirations. I am a recent college graduate, and I’m trying to get my career started. It is going slower than I thought, but I’m working at it. Recently, my dad has been sharing the idea of purchasing a small resort or beach house that we could turn into a family business. He just bought some beachfront property that he believes could be lucrative. I think it sounds like a great idea, but it’s not something I'm interested in pursuing. My dad says this place will need full-time maintenance.
I have my own dreams I want to focus on, and working on a beach house isn't at the top of my list. How do I make it clear to my dad that the beach house isn't one of my dreams? -- On My Own, Eastern Shore, Maryland
DEAR ON MY OWN: It sounds like your dad is trying to figure out a way to support you with a ready-made idea for making money. It also sounds like you have other ideas for your life. This is a tough situation to be in, because what your dad probably thinks is helping you is creating unwelcome friction.
Rather than completely dismissing your dad’s idea, talk to him. Tell him that you do think he has a great idea, but that you can't think about it seriously as a choice for you right now. Describe what you are looking to do in your life and the steps you believe it will take to be successful. Ask him if he can support your choice to pursue your path. Also ask if he will be able to build this beach house, and if you may be able to support him with it later. Sometimes family businesses are passed down to the children, but you need to be willing to take over at some point if you make that promise now.