Annie Lane: Ask to tone down the tambourine

Published 6:30 am Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Dear Annie: I attend a small church where the congregation does not exceed 12 members. So on any given Sunday, there are at least nine of us in attendance, including the pastor and first lady. We follow the government recommended COVID-19 social distance guidelines.

I am hearing impaired and wear a digital hearing aid. There is an older member who beats a tambourine at the drop of a hat during worship service, and since I’m not impaired by volume but tone, the tambourine sounds more pronounced to the point that it gives me a quick migraine or makes me dizzy.

Should I speak with the pastor so he can instruct her to tone it down, or should I go elsewhere? I can’t seem to enjoy service like this, especially when it is already hard to hear a person speaking or praying while they are masked. She beats it during prayers, too. I really believe the tambourine lady knows this annoys me.

Email newsletter signup

— Dizzy and Annoyed Church Member.

Dear Dizzy: Yes, you should tell your pastor how the tambourine is giving you migraines and making you dizzy. He probably has no idea that the tone is so pronounced for you. And it might be having the same effect on others. As humans, we often write narratives in our minds that other people are engaging in behaviors to specifically bother us. Try to not put that onto the member who is beating the tambourine. Chances are that she just enjoys the sound of the instrument and gets carried away.

• • •

Dear Annie: I’m a 56-year-old woman, and I work in a college dorm around freshmen. Every year, it gets harder being around them because I feel out of place because of my age.

A couple of my co-workers do not appreciate my high standards for cleaning up. They like to say things to me like, “You are too picky,” or “This isn’t the Hilton.” They say that because I try to do a good job.

I know I’m picky, but how do I overcome these feelings I have and handle negative comments from people?

— Trying Too Hard at My Job

Dear Trying Too Hard: Having pride in your work is something to take pride in. It should conjure up positive feelings from within. If your co-workers are giving you a hard time, try to remember that it does nothing for your self-worth to do a mediocre job. How we do the small things says everything about how we do the big things in our lives. Your high standards are admirable, and those freshmen are lucky to have you.

• • •

Dear Annie: I have been a psychologist for more than 55 years, and I have a few insights I would like to offer.

People seek counseling when they have problems with making decisions. Here are five questions that may help them:

1. Am I making an assumption or dealing with facts?

2. Will my decision protect me from harm?

3. Will it let me avoid an unwanted conflict?

4. Will it let me reach a goal?

5. Will I feel the way I want?

Also, I have learned that people are afraid of making a mistake. There are two basic kinds of errors — errors of omission or commission.

— Helpful Questions I Ask Myself and Patients

Dear Helpful: Thank you for these very helpful decision-making questions. I love hearing from professionals and having you share your wisdom of 55 years of practice.

Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to