Dear Amy: I have been dear friends with “Constance” for decades.
We live in different states and see each other periodically – we are like sisters.
Constance has responsibility only for herself. I have a family, so therefore she has more disposable income than I do.
Constance prides herself on a frugal, “cash-only” lifestyle, and yet she dovetails off our streaming and shopping services.
I didn’t think I minded, but I sort of do. I think she should offer to pay half of the cost. (Note that she has many redeeming qualities, and this is not a deal-breaker.)
We made a lighthearted comment about how the prices for these services are increasing and how they now show ads because so many people are mooching off the accounts of others.
When she inquired about a streaming service we did not have, she let us know giddily that she “found” access via another friend.
I’ve wondered about others in this predicament (and I know there are others). I’d appreciate your take on this.
– Leech’s BFF
Dear BFF: Some time back, a person I know let a friend have access to one of her streaming accounts. Then that same friend applied the same password to gain access to another streaming account – without asking permission. (The person allowing access had foolishly reused her password for other accounts.)
OK – I’m the fool. All of that happened to me.
In response, I changed ALL of my passwords and the matter died right there. (The friendship died a few months later.)
Anyone you share access with could have access to your other data. It is a definite risk.
If you are willing to continue to do this, ask your friend to pay for half the cost – it’s still a bargain for her and her subsidy could be very helpful in your household.
If she is truly “like a sister” to you – well, this is how sisters should (but don’t always) work things out: Honestly, fairly, and without hard feelings.
If your pal doesn’t use any online or check payment options, she could pay you half of a full-year’s subscription cost by giving you cash.
Alternatively, you could continue to share your account with her, but reframe the way you cast her: Not as a mooch or a leech, but as someone happy to accept your generosity, which you are happy to bestow.
Dear Amy: Through a DNA search, I discovered a relative who has a much closer match with my first cousin than with me.
After corresponding with my DNA match and both of us giving it considerable thought, we have concluded that she was probably fathered by my uncle – the father of my first cousins – making her their half-sister.
My uncle died long ago. The new cousin would like to contact her half-siblings. I also believe that they have a right to know about her.
I wouldn’t want to just drop the issue on them.
I am not close to these cousins. I live in a totally different part of the country, but I do keep loosely in touch about once a year.
I need guidance in how to handle this situation. My husband says to leave it alone.
Do you have ideas?
— DNA Matched
Dear Matched: If you know through the DNA testing site that this person is a closer DNA match with your cousin than with you, then might your cousin also be registered on the site? If so, then the site might have already matched them together.
Regardless, this does not seem overly complicated to me. You could contact one of these cousins to say, “I have located a DNA relative through a testing site. This person would also like to contact your branch of the family. Is it OK if I share your email address with her?”
Once you connect these two branches, you can hope that the graft will mend and your family tree will successfully expand. It is not in your control.
Dear Readers: Have you ever had your question published in the “Ask Amy” column? If so, I’d love to hear from you. Did you accept or reject my advice? Was the issue you wrote about ever resolved?
As part of our ongoing conversation about human behavior and its consequences, I’d love to learn how things turned out for you.
Please, get in touch! Write to me at email@example.com. Write UPDATE in the subject line, and tell me your story.
I welcome the opportunity to be back in touch.
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