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Karma Cleanser

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Dear Karma Cleanser:

A true story: Maybe six months back, I met a guy, "Mac." He knew some other friends of mine and we hung around with him at the beach one weekend. Later, I mentioned to another friend that I'd been talking to Mac. This person, who I won't name, just about lost his shit when he heard who I was hanging out with. He was like, "that guy is trouble" and "he's a known kleptomaniac." I did not know how to handle his reaction.

A few weeks after this, the friend who doesn't like Mac got arrested for shoplifting. Ironic, huh? Now, Mac has lost his job and wants to know if he can crash on my couch for a couple of weeks. I want to say yes, because I like him a lot. But I also remember the warning I got from the other friend. It's a screwed up situation, I know. What should I do?

---- Please Don't Steal My Stuff

A cynical seer would say that your sticky-fingered friend must've recognized something in Mac that he knew all too well -- that is, it takes one to know one. But the Karma Cleanser looks for deeper answers. If your gut instincts tell you that Mac's a good guy, go with it. The allegations against him came from a less than reputable source, and until Mac does something that directly offends you, give him the benefit of your doubts.

Dear Karma Cleanser:

My husband's brother came to live in our guest bedroom after he and his girlfriend split. We let him stay with us for free and never asked for rent. Finally things got tense and my husband told him he needed to move out. Now that he's gone, I've started to think that a few things might be missing around the house. I don't want to tell my husband this, but I also don't want to keep it from him. I'm starting to think I should just let it all go and not say a word.

---- Taking Inventory

Unless you can make a convincing case that your brother-in-law lifted something, your best bet is to stay quiet. The situation is overheated enough as it is. Adding an allegation like this one will only make an awkward family squabble turn into full-fledged bad blood.

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