Should I Track Down the Girl I Bullied in Middle School?

Footing the Bill for Frozen Eggs

My stepdaughter is a single 33-year-old art student who wants to have children eventually. She is busy with school and doesn’t have time to date or much money. My husband and I worry that by the time she’s ready to start a family, she may have fertility issues. (We struggled with them when we had our son when I was 42.) We would like to offer to pay for her to freeze her eggs, but we don’t want to offend her or be intrusive. Your thoughts?

L.H., PALO ALTO, CALIF.

So on trend! A pal of mine just started working at a Silicon Valley company that offers egg-freezing as a perk of employment. On its face, your offer seems purely generous. This procedure costs thousands of dollars, and I get no whiff that you think your stepdaughter is wasting her time on art, instead of pursuing an MRS. degree, as they used to call it at Smith College in the old days.

Still, fertility and stepparents — even separately — are touchy subjects. Combined, they have the explosive power of atomic weaponry. So, tread lightly. You or your husband — whoever has an easier rapport with her — could start this discussion by sharing your fertility story. Then, with your vulnerability established, segue to icy eggs. Say: “If this is something that interests you, we’d be delighted to pay for it. But the important thing for us is helping you have as many choices as you want.” Let us know how she takes it.

A Boomerang Gift of Macarons

I made a lunch date with a friend at a restaurant. At the last minute, she asked me to come to her home instead. She made a delicious salad. And I brought a dozen tiny macarons for her. After lunch, she insisted that I take half the macarons home. She said they were too much for her modest lunch, and she felt inadequate accepting them. I found her response somewhat ungracious, and it made me feel bad. What do you think?

CAROL

Your friend’s inability to accept a hostess gift is second cousin to the more common inability of people to accept compliments. So, a friendly “You look well today, Susan” is often met with “Oh, God, I need to be airlifted to Jenny Craig immediately.” With family and close friends, it is worth examining this dynamic. But with most others, why bother? You must know that your pal’s response had nothing to do with you or the macarons. Next time, decide: Wade into the murky waters of her self-esteem or just take half the sweets?

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