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Ask Lisi: People treat me terribly because my sister is prettier

Advice: Just because you don’t look like your sister, who’s a professional model, doesn’t mean you’re ugly

Everyone says my sister is stunning. They’re right; she is. She’s a working model living in Los Angeles, and constantly flying to New York and Europe for work. I’m so proud of her.

She’s about six inches taller than me and we weigh about the same. She has a model’s tall, thin figure; I do not. Same parents, different gene mix. She is who she is and I am who I am. Our parents loved us equally and treated us the same growing up.

We both have strong careers; I’m currently a veterinary assistant. She’s as proud of me as I am of her. But when we’re together, people look at me like I am in the wrong place. I’ve even had bouncers try to stop me following her into a bar. I get it — I’m not as pretty as my sister. But I still have worth as a human.

Why do people have to be so judgmental?

Ugly Duckling

Change your moniker. Just because you don’t look like your sister, who’s a professional model, doesn’t mean you’re ugly. Your sister may have a career based on her physical appearance, but there are very few people who fall into that same category.

Be proud of yourself for what you are accomplishing with your life — a career based on compassion. Perhaps you and your sister could find some way to collaborate and put all of your incredible talents together. Ignore all those people who have nothing nice to say. Hold your head high. You know who you are.

Dear Lisi: Three of my friends and I are planning a summer vacation together. We all have different amounts of time off, based on our school and work schedules, but we thought it would be fun to be together. So, two of us are flying out together for a week; one is joining us for weeks two and three; he and I are leaving together; and our fourth friend is joining for week three, then staying on with the guy who has the most time off for week four.

We all want to do the same basic stuff, and we’ll all be together for week three. The problem lies in our budgets. And it’s not relative to the amount of vacation time. You probably would think that the guy going for four weeks wants to spend the least daily, but actually, it’s the opposite. He’s researching expensive restaurants, five-star hotels, and high-end activities. The two who are only coming for two weeks each have far smaller budgets. I want to maximize my time away, so I’m going for three weeks, and can spend a little more than the other two but not half as much as our big spender.

How do we get the one with the deep pockets to understand that we’re all not coming from the same bank balance? He’s a bit clueless, obviously.

Budget traveller

Figure out exactly how much you have for the trip, deduct the cost of the flight, and calculate how much you have as your daily spend. Then talk to the other two and see where they land after they do their calculations. Once you have a basic number, tell the wealthier of the four what you guys can afford.

He’ll need to come down to your financial level if he wants to hang out with you. If he really wants to go to a fancy restaurant that’s out of your budget, he’ll either have to treat or go alone. And if there is something special going on, like a concert, find out now and recalculate so you can all attend.

I also suggest holding back some money for emergency purposes.

FEEDBACK Regarding the nosy neighbour issue (Jan. 14):

Reader — “Someone asks for advice on how to get a nosy neighbour to leave them alone and you suggest making time once a month to talk to him? Why should the letter writer have to submit to something they’re trying to avoid?

“He doesn’t like when the garbage is put out? That’s easily fixed. ‘Sorry, this is when I had time to do it. Would you rather do it for me? No? Ok, then stop mentioning it.’ Sometimes, you have to be direct and blunt with those who don’t understand boundaries.”

Lisi — Sometimes you have to be blunt, you are correct. But being blunt can hurt someone else’s feelings, and I try to avoid that. My suggestion was kind and empathetic; yours is dismissive and will create a deeper rift. I’d rather attempt harmonious living with my neighbours.

Ellie Tesher and Lisi Tesher are advice columnists for the Star and based in Toronto. Send your relationship questions via email: [email protected] or [email protected]