Dear Uncle Mat

I have a friend who is very kind and generous. He has always been there for me and I am grateful for that. Whenever I have a problem, I know I can turn to him for advice and help. As of late he has been offering his advice when it is unsolicited. It’s not that it’s necessarily bad advice, but I really don’t need his opinion on everything. It is kind of what I imagine a nagging wife would be like. How do I politely tell him to butt out without hurting his feelings or losing the opportunity to have his help when it is truly needed? He is my own personal Uncle Mat and that is invaluable.

— Feeling Nagged 

Dear Nagged,

Tell him to fuck off! That’s what my friends do. I rarely take it personally. I know I am kind of a nag and an uninformed know-it-all, but I am good at it. If that doesn’t work, you may need to find him a hobby. I think this column was some kind of plot constructed by my friends and family to distract me from trying to run all of their lives.

I don’t want to say you have been asking for it, but if you build up the relationship to be one where he is your regular safety net, then he is only fulfilling the role you have created. If you keep telling a dog to sit and reward him when he does it, he will start to sit all on his own when he wants your love and attention. We are descended from monkeys and train easily. Again, a little correctional slap on the nose ought to be helpful in this case.

It could be he does it out of habit, or maybe he is being proactive. If he intervenes regularly, maybe he can prevent larger fuck-ups that require more energy when you do come to him for help. Maybe his mother raised him to be a pushy busybody and he feels you are finally someone who will let him be himself. Any way you look at this you are clearly a fortunate and likely envied human being.

He is your friend. You should know how to talk to him, so just say it the way he will take it best and let him know that his help is greatly appreciated when warranted, but that isn’t every moment of every day.

Much love and less nagging,

Your Uncle Mat

P.S. Don’t tell him he is a nag. That word is mean. 

A friend gave me a handmade gift for Christmas. My dog promptly destroyed said gift when I left it lying on the couch. I was upset, but never told my friend as I was embarrassed and felt bad. She has never actually been to my house, so I figured she would never know. Well, now my boyfriend invited her and her boyfriend over next weekend. I am totally screwed and feel like a toad. What should I do?

— Feeling Ungrateful 

Dear Ungrateful,

You are a terrible person and your friend will rightfully disown you. If she has never been to your house before how good of a friend could she really be, anyways?

Just kidding. I recommend burning down your house and amputating your left arm. You can tell your friend that you lost your arm reaching back through a window in an attempt to rescue her prized and dear-to-your-heart gift. When the roof collapsed your dog dragged you to safety but left your arm and the macramé salt-and-pepper shakers in the pile of ashes that was your home. It’s like the truth, because you are blaming the dog, but circumstances should garner some sympathy.

If this does not appeal to you, then I suggest the truth. You can ease the pain by delivering it over a glass of fine Champagne and skewers of barbecued dog.

OK, don’t hurt the dog; it’s your fault for leaving the macaroni representation of your great-grandmother on the sofa in the first place. Just apologize sincerely and maybe offer to buy another similar item (if she’s making a mini- or major career out of this craft) that you will guard with your life. Do serve Champagne or her favorite drink.

Much love and luck,

Your Uncle Mat

Uncle Mat answers questions about relationships, sex, pets, and art. Email him at [email protected],, or check out the Dear Uncle Mat Page on Facebook. Your true identity is safe with him.