Little white lies open the door to criticism

This is an archived article that was published on in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Dear Carolyn • I recently "adopted" a purebred dog, or at least, that's how I think of it. Some people ask, "Did you adopt her?" I just say yes. They ask, "Is she a mix?" I say, "Nope, she is a [breed]." "Is she a rescue?" This forces me to say: "No, I got her from a breeder in Pittsburgh." If they ask this last question, my answer gets an odd stare at best and a preachy and judgmental reaction at worst. It seems similar to giving a hard time to a person using a surrogate instead of adopting a kid. When people go on about this, is there anything I can say?

Also Feel a Bit Guilty They're Right

Dear Guilty • If you don't want an "odd stare," then maybe you should stop telling people you adopted a dog that you actually bought from a breeder. Yes, people can be judgmental, about everything they can think of to be judgmental about. But when you fudge to cover your guilt complex, you don't make them think very hard.

Dear Carolyn • I'm starting to think some family members believe my husband and I have a drinking problem. We drink beer or wine a few nights a week, usually a glass or two. Honestly, that's it. We're both healthy, active and in good careers. But, after a few recent swipes, I'm wondering if I'm being delusional: my half-full glass of wine getting "accidentally" poured down the drain, or a nondrinking family member announcing that I "need to get cut off" because I laughed too loudly, apparently, at a joke. I'm at a loss on how to address this, or if I should address it at all. Should I just tell them to shove it (politely)? Dial back the beer at the next family gathering? Dial back the beer generally? Are we really outside the norm here?!


Dear J. • It is the norm for people to underestimate, minimize and deny how much they drink. It is the norm for people to judge others through their own warped lenses. Who has the warped view in your case? No idea. So, test yourself. Put your real numbers into Rethinking Drinking,, via the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Carolyn Hax's column runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.