I am probably being irrational, but I’d like your advice anyway. My husband is an avid hunter. He goes frequently with his brother during hunting season. He is also extremely responsible. He keeps his rifles locked, and the key to the gun cabinet is well hidden. But we have two small children, and I am petrified that they will somehow find their way into the gun cabinet and hurt themselves. This may not be reasonable, but honestly, some nights I am sleepless with worry. Can I raise this with my husband even if he’s not doing anything wrong?
Please don’t belittle your feelings! They would be “irrational” if your husband was storing jelly beans in his gun cabinet, but there are rifles in there. Owning guns and raising children are both huge responsibilities, especially in a world where accidents happen even to vigilant people. And guns just up the ante on possible injuries.
Your husband may be doing everything right, but if you are sleepless with worry, you owe it to yourself and him to speak up. Your fears are not baseless: My father was also a hunter and careful with his guns, but by the time I was 10, I knew exactly where the key to his gun cabinet was hidden. Children are always watching!
Start by thanking your husband for being careful. That sets a productive tone. Then share your fears about the guns and invite possible solutions: Can the rifles be stored elsewhere (maybe at his brother’s house)? Can you shop together for better, state-of-the-art locks for both guns and cabinet?
You may not find the compromise right away, but keep trying. It’s what good partnership is all about. You aren’t being silly, though. Guns are dangerous, and you both deserve to sleep through the night.
Below My Pay Grade
I work at an agency of 20 people. The boss has a dog, and every time she travels (for work or on vacation), she corners staff members and asks if they will stay at her apartment and take care of her dog. She pays $ 40 a day. We don’t have a human resources department, and some of us have felt obliged to say yes to stay on her good side. How do we let her know that watching her dog isn’t our problem?
What I can’t tell from your question is whether your boss has lost sight (on this one issue) of the power imbalance between herself and her employees, or whether she enjoys pressing her advantage. If you aren’t sure either, err on the side of caution — at least until your exit interview.
The next time she asks you to dog sit, say: “Sorry, I have plans that night. Would you like me to send around an email to see who’s free?” That way, you (and she) can identify co-workers who may like $ 40 a day, liberation from their roommates and lounging on your boss’s high-thread-count sheets. Win-win, right?
I often eat at restaurants with a particular friend. She is always eyeing my plate and trying to pick at my food. She asks if I’m finished first, but her behavior really bothers me. Am I being selfish? I’m not going to eat what she’s asking for, after all. But it’s annoying to have someone hovering over my plate. Your thoughts?
Without question, it’s distressing to see vultures circling overhead — or over our steak frites. But in my (admittedly gross) experience of begging people for their scraps, I think I’m more often motivated by fear of hunger than any actual hunger pangs. If, like me, your friend worries about getting enough, even right after finishing her meal, the issue may not be her appetite.
Now, it’s a big ask to be compassionate toward someone who is literally taking food from your mouth. But try. When your friend asks if you’re finished, say, “Actually, I’m going to take this home with me. But if you’re still hungry, order more!” Creating a sense of plenty may help her. (And once she knows you’re a doggie-bag person, she’ll probably stop asking.)
Whose Party Is It, Anyway?
My mother-in-law is giving me a baby shower. She is serving alcohol at the party, although obviously I can’t drink. I am disgruntled by this! Why should I have to watch people drinking at a party where I am the guest of honor? (My husband asked his mother to reconsider the booze, but she won’t.)
Why should you have to watch people drink? Probably for the same reason that your guests have to give up three hours of their free time to watch you unwrap baby gifts: It’s how polite society has unfolded. Give and take! Try your best to hide your feelings. They make you seem selfish (and I bet you’re not).
For etiquette sticklers who believe that a mother-in-law shouldn’t give a shower because it looks like a family gift grab: Get over it! Baby showers are gift grabs, in part, no matter who the host is.
For help with your awkward situation, send a question to SocialQ@nytimes.com, to Philip Galanes on Facebook or @SocialQPhilip on Twitter.