ASK DENISE: Boyfriend's daughter won't pull weight around house

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Editor’s note: Writer’s answers do not reflect those of the Mitchell News-Journal and are not meant to replace medical or mental health care.


Dear Denise: I am struggling with my boyfriend’s daughter. She is 24 years old. She lives with us, and she sleeps all day, doesn’t wash her clothes or help with any housework. She won’t work, either, and always makes excuses for why she doesn’t work. She can’t sleep at night, so she sleeps all day, sometimes until around 5 p.m. She sleeps on the couch because she says it’s too hot upstairs. The air conditioner is in the living room, and she keeps it on 60 degrees all the time, and it’s freezing in there, plus, it’s hard for me to get up and do my housework for not wanting to wake her up.  

I’m almost 38 weeks pregnant, and it’s starting to get to me. I don’t know what to do.

Dear Reader: It sounds as though you have your hands full. Being that far along with your pregnancy, you certainly do not need the added stress of what you are going through. I have a feeling you are not going to like my answer. This situation with your boyfriend’s girlfriend exists because you allow it. I fear nothing is going to change as long as you allow this woman to take advantage of your kindness.  

Enlist the aid of your boyfriend, sit them both down, and lay down the law. Establish a schedule of chores that need to be done, and make it clear she will not be living there if she does not pull her weight. Be prepared for resentment and resistance, but be firm and unwavering in your determination to restore order in your home. Be consistent and stick to your guns. 

If she chooses to ignore your directives, then adhere to what you said and not allow her to live there. Yes, you may hear some complaints and protests, but it is not as if you hadn’t warned them. Sometimes, we need to stir things up and not be the popular person to preserve our peace of mind. 

Best wishes.  


Dear Denise: Is it just me or has simple good manners disappeared as soon as technology reached such popularity? People are so into their cellphones they don’t talk to people face-to-face anymore, or they won’t answer a text if they don’t feel like it or will disappear while chatting. What do you think is proper cellphone etiquette?

Dear Reader: Oh, no, don’t get me started. This has been a pet peeve of mine as well, and I am in 100 percent agreement with you, people do not always use the best manners when using their phones. Following standard rules of common courtesy can apply to 2019 as it did a hundred years ago.  


Dear Denise: I work out of town a couple of days a week and have a super-busy schedule. I was having what I was hoping to be a quiet dinner one evening at a nice, but informal restaurant. A man next to me was talking on his phone so loudly it was practically deafening. His conversation took place during the entire duration of my meal. Don’t you think that is rude? Was I overreacting?

Dear Reader: I am going to answer your second question first: No, I do not think you were overreacting. I had a similar situation happen to me recently. 

When you are being besieged with a stranger’s conversation, it can be very awkward and almost embarrassing. Not to mention, it is outright annoying. Yes, it is very rude.  

Along with the age of technology should have come a new set of etiquette rules. (Maybe a book of electronic etiquette should be my next writing venture?) 

When I walk into a restaurant, I always make sure my phone is on vibrate and answer only if it is a dire emergency. Unfortunately, many people do not do the same. On any lunch or dinner hour, most restaurants resonate with the sounds of various ringtones, and the visual image is people eating with one hand while the other is busy texting. Often people aren’t even interacting from across the table from one another. 

I am sorry you had this experience, but unfortunately, I don’t see it changing anytime soon.  


Denise Harrison is a Licensed Counselor in Spruce Pine. Send questions to or call and leave a message at 828-467-0037. Submissions are anonymous.

The MItchell News

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