ASK AMY: Sibling has extreme wedding attendant anxiety

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Dear Amy: My sibling has asked me to be a part of their wedding party.

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I was shocked in a positive way.

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I’ve never been asked to be part of a wedding party before. I love and respect my sibling immensely, even though we are not super close.

While I want to support them on their special day, I am getting anxious about standing up in front of people, and the wedding isn’t even until later next year.

Any presentations I had to give during school up until my master’s degree resulted in my face/body turning so red that I have been asked if I have a severe sunburn.

A beta blocker helped sometimes, but it wasn’t guaranteed.

I also have hyperhidrosis, where I can easily sweat through an entire outfit in a matter of minutes and be left with drenched clothing that people can see.

How do I break the news to my sibling that I want to do it, but I just don’t think I can handle it?

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My anxiety not to be the centre of attention has led to me and my fiance planning a private wedding with just our young kids and parents attending.

My sibling does not even know this yet (the wedding date hasn’t been set), so should I break that news at the same time?

How can I say this so no feelings are hurt?

– Too Shy

Dear Too Shy: It was kind of your sibling to include you in their wedding party.

You’ve probably been to weddings, and so you know that when you are in the wedding party, you are up there with others – and the focus is mainly on the couple who are getting married.

All the same, attendants are definitely on stage, and the idea of this is triggering a lot of anxiety for you. You should be honest in your response.

I assume that your sibling might anticipate that this would be challenging for you. So respond (sooner rather than later): “I am really honoured that you asked me to stand up with you! But I’m really worried about doing that, so I hope it’s OK if I cheer you on from the sidelines. I think that’s the most I can do.”

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Ask if there are other ways you can be helpful during the planning process.

In terms of your own wedding, you should not combine these two conversations. You have every right to design and enjoy your own wedding in whatever way you choose, but you should do your best to separate the two events.


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Dear Amy: For decades I did my own taxes, until a couple years ago when we got audited.

After that, I found a local firm to handle our personal income taxes.

Recently the state revenue office informed us that our accountant made a very basic error – she entered the federal income instead of the state income on one of our state tax returns.

I emailed our accountant the letter from the state and asked if it was true that we owed nothing. She wrote back, “That’s correct. Thanks for sharing!”

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It definitely undercuts my confidence in her, and I feel helpless without the expertise to detect other errors.

And frankly, it irritates me that she didn’t acknowledge making a mistake.

Ever since our costly audit, everything about taxes intimidates me, and I’m not sure what to do – ask for a different accountant, switch firms?

Or should I just hope she’s learned from the mistake?

– Stress and Taxes

Dear Stress: This is a business relationship. Yes, people do make mistakes, but when someone you have hired makes a mistake, they need to admit it, make it right, and then work to restore your confidence.

Because this is a new arrangement, and your accountant has done none of these things, you should contact the firm and ask to be paired with a different accountant.

Interview this new person, and make sure they are strong communicators.

Dear Amy: Thank you for encouraging people to tip generously.

These days tips are divided amongst a whole range of staff and can include the busser, runner, dishwasher, janitorial staff and cook.

So, when tipping, look across the dining room floor and think about how the tip is going to many of them – and reconsider that it is a rating system for the server.

Until the tip system is fixed, workers are living off of those tips.

– Also Generous

Dear Generous: Thank you for offering this very good tip.

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