Mar 20, 2016

Ask Alanis Morissette: my accidental email has created a family rift


I have created a family rift by accidentally forwarding an email to my sister-in-law that was meant for my daughter. The email was critical of my niece, who is in her 20s and very spoilt. My sister-in-law was outraged, and although I sent her a grovelling apology I'm wondering if she'll speak to me again. What can I do? She's the sister of my ex-husband and after the divorce I remained very friendly with her up until now. Can you help?


Jan 24, 2016

Ask Alanis Morissette: my friends are freeloaders. How do I make them pay?


I'm American, but have lived in Australia for eight years. People often visit from back home, which is wonderful. However, the last two out of three house guests didn't offer to pay for fuel or groceries while they were here. One of them didn't even pay for her own meals when we went out to eat; both expected my partner and I to organise their trips for them. Those two visitors cost us more than A$4,000 (£1,920).

One of them wants to come back in November to meet our new baby (due any minute now). While she is a dear friend and we would be delighted to have her, we simply cannot afford another round of mooching. I know we've been too soft in the past and neither of us is good at confrontation. How do we tactfully communicate that guests need to pay their own way?