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Ask Ellie: 'Embarrassed' sibling should support sister's love of singing

Give her props for her stick-to-it attitude. And tell the kids at school to give her a break

Dear Lisi: My sister is a terrible singer, but no one has the heart to tell her. She tries out for every school play and gets put in the choir each and every time. She then sings the loudest and most off-key, basically ruining the performance.

My parents believe in nurturing her, and I think they’re super sweet and kind. But it’s embarrassing! All the kids in school make fun of her behind her back. They don’t do it in front of me, but I’m not completely out to lunch.

She even takes private singing lessons, which has helped, but not enough. When will she realize she’s not very good?

Headache central

You ask a good question and the answer is maybe never. Have you spoken to your parents about having her hearing checked? She may have an auditory problem that is not allowing her to hear herself the way others do.

But aside from that, isn’t it amazing that she has something that she loves so much that she doesn’t care how “bad” she is at it, she’s still just going to go for it? I think that’s commendable.

Also, you don’t say how old either of you are, but you sound young. Through puberty and maturity, her voice could change. If she sticks with it, and gets the right teacher, she could be great.

Give her props for her stick-to-it attitude. And tell the kids at school to give her a break.

FEEDBACK regarding the stressed-out mom getting anxious about back-to-school (Sept. 6):

“I read Lisi’s response to a mother overwhelmed with her back-to-school routine for her four children. I was dismayed to read her advice. She suggested she chill-out with something the writer likes and mentioned a glass of wine (in addition to other things).

“Suggesting the use of alcohol to chill out is negligent. No psychotherapist, psychologist or psychiatrist would recommend alcohol to anxious clients as a means of relaxing. I understand these are not her qualifications, but there is an ethical and moral responsibility to recommend healthy stress-relieving activities.

“I also acknowledge that our young women of today have turned to wine as a pastime and girls’ right to relaxing. A dangerous culture that has emerged with statistical consequences being reported in evidence-based reports, journals and guidelines.

“As a retired health professional, I encourage other healthy activities (physical activity, time out reading a book, seeking counselling, walking the dog, making her favourite healthy meal, etc.).

“The wine culture that has emerged is problematic for women of all ages and should be avoided when making recommendations for relaxing.”

Retired RN and Health Promoter

Lisi - Thank you so much for being a devoted reader, and for sending in your thoughts and comments.

I appreciate both.

As you noted, the mention of wine was merely a suggestion. Many people enjoy a glass in the evenings. I’m personally not a big drinker so it wouldn’t be my go-to, though I do know many who would.

I like your perspective. I agree: there are plenty of other healthier ways to chill out. But to each his or her own. I’m not here to judge.

You obviously have years of experience and I appreciate you sharing with me.

Reader’s Commentary

“Why is everyone so up in arms over Harry and Meghan holding hands? Can’t people just see that they are happy, in love and supportive of each other? Why do they have to follow protocol when they’re not even part of the Royal Family anymore anyway?”

Lisi – I saw the Twitter-verse blow up over this and thought the same thing. Leave them be; they’re happy.

My girlfriend is very particular. There’s no middle zone. I love her, but when she digs her heels in, she’s hard to take.

We don’t disagree often, but there’s not a lot of compromise. How do I help her see that not everything has to be so definitive? That going with the flow can be more fun, or easy, or both.

I have definite likes and dislikes, but often I just don’t care that much. I’m more easy-going, but don’t want to end the relationship.


Grey zone

You’ve got a great attitude: most things aren’t worth arguing over and compromise is the backbone to every healthy, long-lasting relationship.

Your girlfriend is set in her ways and rigid. Talk it through with her when you’re not in the midst of arguing. Gently ask her why sometimes she seems so unwavering. She may not even recognize it in herself. Or she may open up about something in her past.

Ellie Tesher and Lisi Tesher are advice columnists for the Star and based in Toronto. Send your relationship questions via email: [email protected].