DEAR HARRIETTE: My neighbor has a passion for weird pets. Normally this wouldn’t bother me, but my neighbor also can’t keep her animals contained. She has a couple of swans that wander outdoors. The rest of her animals stay in the house. I’ve come out to my backyard and been faced with angry swans trying to attack me! This has probably happened a dozen times. At first, I ignored it. Eventually, I called her to shepherd her swans away from my property. She asked me to never call animal control, and said that she’d always be willing to come and collect them. My wife and children are faced with them, too, and the birds have already bitten my wife. I want to maintain a relationship with my neighbor, but I cannot have her birds running about biting my family! How can I get the swans away and stay cordial with my neighbor? – Scary Swans, Stamford, Connecticut

DEAR SCARY SWANS: Swans are not necessarily weird, but they aren’t really pets either. They are wild birds that cannot readily be tamed. This means that your friend either needs to figure out a way to contain them in her yard or face dealing with the authorities. Because swans can fly, a fence won’t prevent them from entering your property, though it could dissuade them from turning in your direction.

You can ask your neighbor to try a tall fence to steer the swans in another direction. Tell her that one of her swans has bitten your wife and you feel unsafe. Make it clear that if she cannot contain the birds, you will have no choice but to call the authorities.

• • •

DEAR HARRIETTE: I met my current husband of 12 years through an affair. This happened 15 years ago, and I thought this was all well behind me. At the time I knew it was a bit of a scandal, but I assumed everyone got over it. Recently, I was grilled by one of my friends on how I met my husband. I became visibly uncomfortable and tried to work around the question, but she wasn’t having it! It was clear I did not want to talk about how I met my husband. Later, I found out she didn’t know how my husband and I met, but I still think it was invasive of her to ask. You don’t know everyone’s stories! My feelings are hurt that she kept insisting to know how we met, and I want to talk to her about her behavior. I know it is silly to try to ban everyone from asking how people met, but I don’t want people asking me this. What can I say to my nosy friend? – Least Favorite Topic, Brooklyn, New York

DEAR LEAST FAVORITE TOPIC: First, please know that it is common for people to ask how couples met. It is not an invasive question. It’s more like an icebreaker that most people feel comfortable answering. You and your husband may want to think of a way to tell your story that excludes the scandal of it. But don’t penalize your friend for her innocence.

While you have made peace with your choice from many years ago, it is not fair for you to have hurt feelings over someone outing your past action that directly affects your status today. Don’t confront her. Let it go.

— Lifestylist and author Harriette Cole is president and creative director of Harriette Cole Media. You can send questions to [email protected] or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.