Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress


Dear Dharma,

I am dating a guy with college-age kids. Everything between us is great but when it comes to his kids I am going to lose it soon! As kids of divorce they are spoiled rotten and do not appreciate anything he does and the expensive gifts he gives them, but so far I tried to stay out of it.

Until last weekend… He asked if his daughter could borrow one of my expensive dresses. I do not ever lend my clothes to other people but in this case I wanted to do him a favour.

The whole night she wore this dress, she never once said ‘thanks’ to me (let alone when I gave it to her) and to make things worse, she never returned the dress and I had to chase it down. She then dropped it off at my boyfriend’s house, uncleaned and still… not even a thank-you note!

I got very upset with my boyfriend and he just said “What’s the big deal, I’ll pay for cleaning if you insist.” WTF? It’s not about the damn cleaning! If I ever did this when I was a kid, my parents would have a) made me say thanks and b) made me get the dress cleaned. And this girl is not a kid, she goes to college!

I don’t want to cross him and talk to her myself to tell her that she has zero manners, as he doesn’t see anything wrong with her behaviour 🙁  I want to tell him that spoiling her and not teaching her manners and appreciation doesn’t do her any favours for the future.



Dear Un-im-p/dressed,

Oy vey, kids these days.

For anyone who doesn’t think thank-you notes are important, please know this is the impression you make on the other half of the world.  It doesn’t have to be a long drawn out card, an email will do just fine.  I don’t know why we’ve lost sight of showing appreciation, or why parents no longer think to teach the art of graciousness.

Your friend’s daughter sounds like she’s straight from Generation Entitlement, and it’s no mystery how she got there, by the sounds of her father.

Dad doesn’t realize that letting daughter behave this way will have a long lasting negative impact on the quality of her life (forget you and the dress, he obviously doesn’t get it – and that’s a one off, since you are NEVER lending her anything again!)

If you are going to talk to him, I would use the “I only say this because I care” approach.  I would ask if he wants people thinking his daughter is rude, disrespectful and selfish. Because even if he thinks the sun shines out her ass, it’s likely others are not going to find her so charming.  This will impact her career, her friendships, and her relationships across the board.  Unless she just hangs out with douche bags, and then really, who gives a crap.  Which, I guess, if that’s what you want for your daughter…

Does he not want better for her?  People respond so well to those who are thoughtful, polite, considerate and appreciative…  He has to be able to agree with at least that, it’s a no-brainer.

The next question would be which of her actions demonstrated any of those qualities.  No thank you (not polite) + having to be badgered to return the dress (not considerate) + giving it back uncleaned (not at all thoughtful) = NOT APPRECIATIVE.

Nice, clean math, non?

Frankly, I don’t see anything wrong with speaking to her directly, either.  It would be to explain how her behaviour was hurtful and made you feel taken advantage of.  I guarantee you she doesn’t know that.  No one taught her, and you don’t know what you don’t know, capiche?  You can thank her mom and dad for that.  She’s not a little kid, so you’re not really going over his head in addressing her.

It’s important you recognize, however, that tearing a strip off her will not accomplish anything.  If you can’t keep your cool, then you’re best to just put the whole thing behind you and go back to not lending out your clothes, no matter what the occasion.



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  • kaileym says:

    It is weird, isn’t it, that parents don’t teach kids manners these days. Too busy trying to be their friends. But kids have LOTS of friends, what they need is parenting and guidance so they learn how to be decent human beings. Too bad your boyfriend can’t see that. Hopefully he’s good at other things.

  • Anonymous says:

    Wow! This situation totally sucks. It’s also a little concerning that the dad doesn’t realize that theirs a problem. I would feel that there is a loss of respect from him as well. He should be just as appreciative that you went out of your way for her.

    If it was me i would be talking to them both…just sayin.

    Best of luck!

  • Pam says:

    Really!!? An adult who asks her dad to ask his girlfriend? That should have tipped you off right there.
    Personally, I would not say anything until the next time she wanted to borrow something, and she will.
    Then I would just explain that you broke your “no lending” rule as a favour to her and you were very disappointed in her attitude. You were disrespected and not getting a thank you was bad enough but, who returns an item of clothing without having it cleaned!!!!! Staying calm and adult about the situation is probably your best bet. Childish adults don’t know how to respond to a calm adult……Oh and don’t ever lend her anything again!!!
    (Or borrow something from her and treat her the same way…….hmmmm, maybe not…….lol……..)

  • Anonymous says:

    Wow! Kids these days! This whole “entitlement” that they all seem to have has got to go!

    I think back to how my parents would have handled that and am amazed! Not only would my mother have marched my ass over to you to apologize for being so rude, she would also loomed over me until I thanked you for your generosity in lending me the dress and asked for forgiveness for my actions. Even then, there would most certainly have been a conversation about manners on the way home. Had I been tardy returning the dress, she would have freaked out until the dress was returned and I would be told that borrowing would be off limits until I could be more responsible. And LORD HELP ME if I were to return something to some one that wasn’t in the same or even better state then when I borrowed it. I would have been required to pay for the dry cleaning bill for your ENTIRE wardrobe, just to sever as a lesson! Good bye allowance until that debt was paid off.

    I think you should go to her directly! She’s not a child, she needs to be held accountable for her actions. Welcome to REAL LIFE!

  • Judy says:

    Oh man, it summarizes everything that’s wrong with these millennials: the parents! Raising an a$$hole generation 🙁

  • Walk Away Rene says:

    Yikes, I’m playing the movie forward and I don’t like what I see. You’ll always be second fiddle to his kids (even if that’s not what this is about). A partner who disregards your concerns defending his teen clearly put you in your place. I’d be weaning myself from this chop-buster.

Whether you agree with Dharma or think she missed the mark on this one, leave a Comment!

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