Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Recent Grad Living at Home Can't Find Work

DEAR HARRIETTE: My son graduated from college in May. He did well in school and had a few internships. He has been at home since graduation, actively looking for a job but has found nothing. My husband gave him six months to find a job or find a new place to live. I know our son has been working hard at it, but so far no luck.

I fear in a couple of months my husband will make good on his demand and throw my son out if he hasn’t yet found work. I don’t want to start a fight with my husband, but I think that we may need to give my son a bit more time. I keep reading about how tough it is for young people to find work. Several of his friends have found jobs, but more are just like him, searching. What can I say to my husband to get him to extend the clock on our son’s time at home? -- Tick Tock, Syracuse, New York

DEAR TICK TOCK: Encourage your son to speak to your husband. The best way for this to be handled is for your son to present his argument for why he would appreciate being able to stay at home until he gets on his feet. This should include your son being prepared to tell his father what interviews he has had and how they went, what he learned and what his strategy is for the coming weeks. He needs to be able to project how he will seek out work until he finds it.

This may involve looking in his field of interest and also looking for part-time work so he can have money to contribute to the family budget. When your son shows his maturity and commitment to being responsible, it should inspire your husband to want to extend his deadline.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Money

Friends Want Tour of Building

DEAR HARRIETTE: I live in a historic part of my city, in a building that was made famous because it was used in a couple of big feature films. Whenever people ask me where I live and I tell them, they want to come for a tour. I am a private person, and I do not want to do this.

I am not fancy. I live a simple life even though I live in a nice building. I don’t want my home or myself to be on display. When I decline to bring people on tours of my home, they often get indignant and say I’m being a snob. I resent that. Why should I have to open my home to people I don’t even know? -- Stay Out, Brooklyn, New York

DEAR STAY OUT: You do not have to invite anyone to your home. It really is that simple. What complicates your situation is you talk about where you live, and that draws attention and interest to the building and to you. Stop talking about it. Divert the conversation when your building comes up. When asked, just kindly say no. You have no obligation to invite strangers or others into your home.

Read more in: Miscellaneous | Etiquette & Ethics | Friends & Neighbors