Clare: Is it rude to be on the phone when hanging out with a friend?

Welcome to Ask Clare, our advice column.  Have a question, dilemma, or quandary?  Send it to Clare in an email or on her Facebook page.  

Clare,

My best friend is constantly on her phone when we spend time together. It is at lunch, when we shop, even if we’re watching a movie at one of our homes. If I ask what she’s doing, she just says, “nothing.” Is it fair to ask for her to stay off her phone when we’re hanging out? – Phone a friend

Phone a friend,

People are slaves to their phones. Shy of making your house a dead zone, I think it is fair to let your friend know (politely) what about her behavior upsets you. If she’s a good friend, she will put the phone aside most of the time. She may even open up to you on who or what she’s dealing with on the phone. If she isn’t receptive – it may be time to find a friend who is willing to give you the face-to-face you’re after.

Clare

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Clare,

Our friends from up north are visiting next week. They kept telling us that they are really looking forward to using our heated pool and hot tub. It is a little weird, but fine by us until the damn boatmen bugs infested our area. We have so many that our pool guy is recommending that we drain everything and start fresh. I really don’t want to refill until the bugs are gone but I feel bad for our guests. Should I just fill the pool and hot tub for them even if it means having to empty and refill again later? – Bug off

Bug off,

Don’t feel obliged to refill. This isn’t reasonable – plus you’d be wasting water and money. The local hotels have pools and pool passes. The bugs seem to be the worst in the mid-valley. Your guests may want to book a cabana in Palm Springs at Saguaro or The Ace if they’re young. Riviera or Arrive if they are 30 plus. Sorry about your pool – hopefully those bugs are not a warning of the apocalypse.

Clare

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Clare,

My wife spends more than we should for Christmas every year despite my pleas for her to be more conscious. She buys presents that are more lavish than necessary for everyone from immediate family to distant relatives. She also buys for people that I don’t feel need a gift like neighbors and the postman. How can I stop this madness without getting on my wife’s naughty list? I am pulling my hair out here. – Grinchmas

Grinchmas,

Your wife has probably already done a bulk of the spending for this Christmas. Sit down with her and discuss the amount of money that she spent last year, how much she has spent this year so far and what you feel you can afford (without being too stingy). Make some sacrifices on things you enjoy to help boost the holiday budget a bit beyond what you think is reasonable. Let her know how you feel when she disregards your wishes about spending. Good luck – hope you don’t wind up with coal in your stocking.

Clare

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