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Ask Amy: Our close friends secretly poached our beloved vacation rental

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Amy Dickinson
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Dear Amy: For over a decade my family and another very close family of friends, “The Smiths,” have vacationed together on our favorite island off the Southern coast.

Our children view them as family and adore the parents and their children (who are exactly the same age as ours).

The Smiths are much more affluent than we, and owned their own home on the island for many years while we rented a house nearby.

Last year they sold their home (for an enormous profit, I might add), so now they must also rent a home for our beloved trip.

Imagine our surprise when we learned this year that they booked the very same rental house we have used for several years for themselves.

This is incredibly hurtful, but especially because we have been in a very tumultuous financial situation and depended on the significant “repeat renter discount” we received from the unit owners to rent their home.

While we obviously understand that we have zero right to control a rental unit, we are extremely sad and frankly heartbroken that our friends seemed to have no sense of this possibly being hurtful or undermining toward us.

We are unsure of how to move forward.

Should we say something about our hurt feelings just to clear the air?

Should we say nothing and take the hint that maybe they don’t feel the same way toward us as we do about them and not go on the trip this year?

Or should we just act like nothing’s wrong and pay for a more expensive rental and let it go?

— Sad and Confused in CT

Dear Sad and Confused: It is almost impossible to imagine that these savvy homeowners on a vacation island are unaware of how attached annual renters become to their usual rental property. Regular renters are often prized by landlords, who offer discounts to good and reliable annual tenants as both rewards and incentives. Oftentimes, landlords will give their “regulars” a right of first refusal before they open up their property to new tenants; I wonder why your landlord didn’t do this for you.

So yes, “The Smiths’” choice to snap up this rental for themselves leaves you scrambling (choice island rentals often book up many months in advance of the season).

You could respond to this by saying, quite frankly, “You guys snapped up the house we’ve been renting, and now we’re scrambling to find a new rental for our time on the island. I’m not sure we’ll be able to find a place we can afford, so if you know of anything, please let us know. We’re going to have to leave our plans up in the air for now. This is a bummer for us, and we’re all disappointed.”

Dear Amy: After a fairly long job search, I was finally offered a position with a firm I’d interviewed with three times over the course of many months.

I was thrilled to finally get an offer and accepted the position. I’m supposed to start in two weeks.

Well, as luck (and Karma) would have it, I’ve also just received a solid offer from another firm, and this one pays more and is probably a better fit for me.

This brings on an ethical dilemma. Do I have to go with the first offer, or can I decline it, even after accepting it?

— Blessed with Choices

Dear Blessed: Congratulations, and welcome to the “when it rains, it pours” club.

This situation surely happens with some regularity, as candidates pursue many job leads at once.

You are obligated to work in the position that is best suited for you. Not only is this best for you, but I doubt any potential employer really wants to be your second and lesser-paid choice.

Accept the second-offered position, and once your acceptance is verified and you have a solid start-date, contact the initial company to tell them that you are going to renege on their offer. Apologize for the inconvenience to them, but say honestly that you feel obligated to accept the offer that is best suited for you.

Dear Amy: “Stressed” objected to her ex-husband attending games and school events for their children during her custodial time.

Thank you for pointing out that, “Your co-parenting plan is not equivalent to having a restraining order.”

Both parents should work as a team, no matter what.

— Happy Ex

Dear Happy Ex: Some estranged parents cannot (and should not) share space. But those who can absolutely should.

(You can email Amy Dickinson at askamy@amydickinson.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter or .)

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