Friendship out-of-office messages are all very well until you find yourself in need | Coco Khan

A Twitter thread has tapped into a wider conversation about womens emotional labour, says commissioning editor for Guardian B2B, Coco Khan A friend in need is a friend indeed, but a friend who asks permission to talk is better. Thats at least according to Melissa Fabello, a US-based activist and writer who posted a now-viral thread that divided audiences online. Fabello lays out the benefits of this practice, such as recognising that a friend may have limited time or that the conversation may be upsetting, and encourages people to say no to their friends if they choose to. She even drafts a delete as appropriate template message that reads: Hey, Im so glad you reached out. Im actually at capacity/helping …

How I learned to make peace with supporting my parents financially

As a teenager I resented the injustice of keeping my family afloat with money but like many second-generation immigrants Ive come to see the other side For as long as I can remember, I have supported my parents financially. My family is broke. Like, really broke and has been my whole life. My dad cleans cars for a living and is in a lot of debt. My oldest brother used to make some money, but he died. My second-oldest brother is in prison.My other siblings are still young, studying or looking for work. I started supporting my family in high school in England, in dribs and drabs from school bursaries and state benefits. I didnt have much cash, but I …

My husband wont let me drive our car, because Im a woman | Dear Mariella

This controlling behaviour needs to be addressed unless youre a terrible driver, says Mariella Frostrup The dilemma My husband wont allow me to drive the car when hes in it. I used to accept this, but for the past four months Ive challenged it. Now that we have a son, I dont want him growing up thinking Daddy is in charge. When I first raised this, I casually said Id drive us home from a day out and didnt think itd be a big deal, but it was. He threw the keys at me and had a face like thunder. Another time, I was going into town and he wanted to come, too, but expected me to get out of …

With the greatest disrespect: how Her Majesty’s Press offers its candid friendship

The Duchess of Sussex may think she has a good case in her legal battle with the media. But just look at how these other royals fared Has there ever been a more cruelly miscast candid friend to the royal family than Her Majestys Press, who are neither truly candid, nor remotely the sort of people one knows socially? And, yes, I obviously include myself in that. In any case, the ONLY acceptable way to look at the royal family is that practised by Princess Michael of Kent, of whom the Queen is once said to have remarked: Shes rather grand for us. (Remember: the couple have decided to launch a legal action. There is, as we know, no snowflake …

How we met: When my wife died I was so lost. I prayed that something would change

Sally Birch Brown, 42, and her husband Richard, 43, met online in 2017 after they were widowed. They live in Hamilton, New Zealand Six months after losing her husband, Delon, to cancer, Sally joined an online dating site to ease her loneliness. It wasnt long before she met Richard, who was also recently widowed. At first, we started talking on the phone in the evenings, says Sally. We were both going through the grieving process and it was comforting to talk to someone about the challenges. Sally had two teenage girls and three older step-children; Richard also had three children. I was so lost when my wife, Dominique, died. I remember praying that something would change, Richard explains. Sally came …

Swinging 60s surrealist Penny Slinger: ‘Collectors thought I came with the art’

She made psychic dolls houses, erotic wedding cakes and full-frontal collages. But the world wasnt ready for her powerful personal visions. Is Lady Picasso about to get her dues? Penelope Slinger has never done anything by halves. She remembers drawing her first really accomplished picture in 1952, when she was four and a half. It was of her parents completely naked. They were terribly proud but too embarrassed to show their friends. Then, when she was nine, she was expelled from her Surrey convent school for waving a sanitary towel out of a bus window. A child psychologist informed her parents that she wasnt mad, she was simply an artist, and they should do what they could to support her. …

Goal! The football league that helped me lose five stone

Sick of being overweight and worried about his health, Andy Welch knew it was time for drastic action. Then he stumbled across Man v Fat I have always been overweight. I was 10lb (4.5kg) when I was born and it kind of went from there. I was 10 stone (64kg) by the age of 10, 13st (83kg) at 13 and 16st (102kg) by 16. My age and weight matching was a worry and lasted until I was 21. There were diets along the way. When I was younger, my parents tried various approaches to get me to lose weight gentle persuasion, desperate pleas, even financial bribes. I was referred to a hospital dietitian who had a go, too. When I …

You want a dark Mel Gibson comedy about rich Jewish people? You got it!

Rothchild, a new film starring the polarising star is being touted around Cannes. If you dont get the gag, well, join the club Let me tell you something about the god that Mel Gibson worships up there in his private $42m, 17-acre church compound in Malibus Agoura Hills (congregation: 70). He and it will be a he is the one true god, who doesnt just forgive and forget, even if you dont meaningfully repent. He goes the extra 1,000 miles to ensure that at the Cannes film festival in the year 2019, the Hollywood trade press will be able to type the words: This is shaping up to be Mels market with a host of Gibson projects on sale. As …