Q: My husband is a woodworker and furniture maker by training. He works in a design studio and maintains a small workshop at home. Recently my friend Denise has been asking if he can help her with various craft, DIY, and handyman projects. On occasion my husband has given Denise some verbal advice, but lately almost every time I speak with her (which is every few months), she asks for help with issues that range from repairing the legs on a thrift store sofa to rebuilding her deck...
These are not the kinds of tasks that my husband enjoys—nor is he willing to work for free. I think Denise means well, but I don't understand why she would assume my husband would rather be doing favors for her than working on his own projects. Furthermore, I really think she would be much better off paying a skilled laborer/craftsperson for their time and expertise.
Yesterday, when I informed Denise that my husband would be too busy to help cut some planks for a new set of stairs, Denise suggested that she and her boyfriend could instead use some of the tools/saws in his workshop themselves. This is not something that we are at all comfortable with. Is there a polite way to inform Denise that my husband is not a resource for her DIY projects? -Sent by Mae
Editor: Oh my goodness, that's awkward. Readers, please advise Mae on this tricky situation. Do you recommend a serious talk, endless breezy brush-offs, helpful redirection ("There's a great tool library/maker space in town, here's the website!"), or what?
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