Dear Abby Hijacked

Dear Abby Hijacked: Volume Five

Because it's Friday and I'm bored….

Past installments

From her October 30 column:

DEAR ABBY: My friend, "Steven," and I have known each other 10 years. He and I have seen each other through many good times, and a few bad ones.

Most recently, Steven was in a relationship with a woman who couldn't stand the thought of his having female friends. So, for the last 18 months, the only contact I have had with him was via e-mail — and that was very seldom.

Steven recently e-mailed me saying he had broken up with this insecure woman. He expressed how sorry he was for the limited contact, and said he would like for us to rebuild our friendship. I'm thrilled to finally have my friend back, but I also feel somewhat resentful toward him for his having discarded me.

Abby, I missed Steven. But how can I be his pal again when I am still hurt by his blatant disregard for our friendship and my feelings over the past year and a half? — UNCERTAIN IN LONG BEACH

 Dear Uncertain:

Well, you don't have to be his pal, but that's cutting off your nose in spite of your face.

Look, just tell him how you feel/felt about being "disregarded".   He's already apologized, so he seems aware of it.  But if you think there's more to be said, then say it.   I don't suspect this Steven will have changed much during his hiatus from your friendship, and he will understand.

Best of luck,

Dear Abby Hijacked

******

Beach cast DEAR ABBY: For the last seven months I have been planning a Florida vacation with two of my girlfriends. However, one of them, "Heather," has just announced that she will be having foot surgery before we leave. She will be in a cast and able to walk only with the use of crutches. I hoped that Heather would cancel, but she's still planning to come anyway.

Abby, I don't want to take care of her on my only vacation. Am I being selfish? Should we let her come and just sit in the condo while we go out to explore? I'm afraid our friendship will suffer. What should I do? — VACATION-BOUND IN THE NORTHWEST

Dear V-BitNW:

Do you even know that she expects  you to "take care of her"?  How about talking to her? 

And in the course of that conversation, you can suggest that you don't want her to feel bad when you and your other travel companion hit the clubs or do things that can't involve the crip.

I mean, maybe Heather just wants to lie on the beach all day, you know?

So talk to her.

Have a nice vacation,

Dear Abby Hijacked

Dear Abby Hijacked: Volume Four

Past installments

From her July 16 column

DEAR ABBY: My 17-year-old niece, "Nicki," was recently diagnosed with an STD. When her mother, my sister-in-law "Cynthia," found out she was horrified. She had ignored several family members — including me — who had tried to warn her that Nicki was sexually active and not taking proper precautions.

Now Nicki’s 14-year-old sister, "Danni," has come to me because she was afraid she was pregnant. I took her to get a pregnancy test done. Thank God, it was negative.

I think Danni should be tested for STDs, and both she and Nicki should be on birth control.

I can’t get this through to my sister-in-law. Cynthia thinks I "don’t understand" because I have sons, and "all I have to do is give them condoms."

Yes, but I have also talked to them about sex, sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy and prevention, as well as the importance of acting responsibly.

I just want my nieces to be safe. Cynthia is living in a state of denial. How can I protect my nieces? — CONCERNED AUNT IN NEW YORK

Dear Concerned Aunt:  This is nothing to screw around with (no pun intended).  Talk directly to the two kids yourself.  If they have come to you (as Danni has), it sounds like your responsibility is to, at the very least, point them to some literature and educate them.  Make THEM see how important safe sex is.  And offer to buy them protection.

Signed, Dear Abby Hijacked

DEAR ABBY: Is it rude or inconsiderate for a person to knit, crochet or piece a quilt while attending a meeting or other gathering? — CURIOUS IN THE SUNBELT

Dear Curious:  It certainly *can* be.  It depends on the nature of the gathering.  If, for example, the knitter was the subject of an intervention, she should probably put the knitting down and, you know, listen.  It’s also probably not cool in an office setting (i.e., meeting with clients).

But large school board meetings, or church, or something like that?  That’s probably okay.  As long as the person can multi-task (some people can, some people can’t, and some people *say* they can but actually can’t).

Signed, Dear Abby Hijacked

Dear Abby Hijacked: Volume Three

Image002Another installment:

DEAR ABBY: For most of my life, I have parted my hair on the right. I am now being told that men should part their hair on the left. Is there a correct side for men?  — HARRY W., MORRO BAY, CALIF.

Dear Harry:

No, there is no correct side, as long as it doesnt make your hair stick up.  But, for what it’s worth, Hitler parted his on the right.  So, you know, keep that in mind.  — Dear Abby Hijacked

DEAR ABBY: I recently presented a research proposal. I did the best I could and was verbally attacked by my boss. She is often tactless and can at times be cruel.

I tried to defend my research, but perhaps I did it too emphatically and went overboard, because my team member turned off my microphone and apologized to the boss.

I understand some of the criticisms, but what bothered me was that other proposals were more flawed than ours, but were not attacked in a similar fashion. One thing led to another, and I broke down in tears at the table. Luckily, the boss did not see it, but other team members did.

Is showing emotion in public wrong? I tried to hold it in but couldn’t. I was insulted and felt terrible for my team. Was crying unprofessional? Should I have run to the powder room to sob — or would that have made it worse? — TEARY-EYED IN MALAYSIA

Dear Teary-eyed:

Showing emotion in public is not wrong.  You can go too far with it, of course, and it is wise to keep things in check.  If you find yourself frequently crying or going over overboard with anger, then you may have some issues going on entirely unrelated to work.  I think running to the powder room would have drawn more attention to yourself.  But as for that meeting — unless you think this is a chronic problem — chalk it up to a bad day. — Dear Abby Hijacked

DEAR ABBY: I am deeply patriotic and support our troops wholeheartedly. Because I am people-oriented, I try to go out of my way at my job (I am a hotel front desk clerk) to say nice things to people or do something for them. I often see government IDs on individuals (usually military) and I would like to say thanks — but I don’t know how. I don’t know who’s been overseas or not, and was wondering if you had any suggestions. I would just like to be able to say thanks without being intrusive and remain professional about it. — ELIZABETH IN ORLANDO

Dear Elizabeth:

Just say "Thank you for your service" when you see their ID.  Even people who do not serve overseas do a service to their country. — Dear Abby Hijacked

Dear Abby Hijacked: Volume Two

Actual letters to Dear Abby, randomly selected, with my response:

DEAR ABBY: My closest friend, "Tina," who is married, has been having an affair for a few months. She has now decided she’s no longer in love with her husband, "Hal," and wants a divorce. Tina and Hal have been in my life for several years and are like family to me.

Hal recently reached out to me for an explanation about Tina’s 180-degree change in attitude, feelings and behavior. He is crushed and confused about why she wants a divorce. He told me he had asked her if she had been cheating. Of course, Tina lied to him.

I don’t want to be the one to tell Hal what she’s doing, but I feel I owe it to him. I’m disgusted with Tina, and it’s killing me to see him in so much pain. What do you suggest? Am I really a friend if I don’t tell, or should I continue keeping her dirty little secret? — IN THE MIDDLE IN CORPUS CHRISTI

DEAR IN THE MIDDLE:  No, don’t tell Hal.  He’ll find out soon enough, especially if shes sues for divorce.  The truth will always out, as Shakespeare said.

I would, however, start to distance myself from Tina, hard as it may be.  She’s made herself an ugly bed, and is essentially asking her friends to respect her decision to have an affair.  If you can, fine, but most people don’t approve of lies and deception.  Take your "disgust" with Tina, and move away from her.

DEAR ABBY: My children have been cared for by a wonderful baby sitter I’ll call "Sally" for two years. Mine are the only children Sally watches, and she has three of her own. Our families have a friendly relationship.

Once in a while I will stop at the grocery store on my way home, or take off from work early for a dental appointment or some personal time. It is rare, but it does happen. I always tell Sally because I want to be honest. When I do, sometimes she acts like I should have picked them up right away. I still get there on time — sometimes early — and I pay her well.

Is there an unwritten rule that sitters are only for when you are at work? I don’t think I have abused her services, but sometimes I feel as though she thinks so. — FEELING GUILTY IN ILLINOIS

DEAR FEELING GUILTY:  You may be reading her wrong.  Or she may have a legitimate gripe.  Perhaps a frank and honest discussion with her is in order.  There is no "unwritten rule" about babysitting; reasonable people are allowed to differ.   Perhaps she thinks her services are being provided for only the time when you work.  Just talk to her and see if you can both get on the same page.

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend, "Brady," and I do not share the same passions. I’m a gay rights activist and love animals. Brady is tolerant of gays, but does not love animals. (I have three cats.) Also, he is not altruistic.

"Something" is not right. I need to decide if I should go it alone because I have no intention of giving up my passions in life. What do you think? — ON DIFFERENT PATHS IN TEXAS

DEAR ON DIFFERENT PATHS:  No two people are exactly the same, and compatability does not mean they have to see eye-to-eye on all matters.  You need to decide how "passionate" you are about these issues (gay rights, animals) and more importantly, how passionate your ideal boyfriend should be.  (Perhaps he is passionate about something that you are not?).  If not being a gay rights activist, for example, is a "deal breaker" for you, then it’s time to move on.  But remember, a great part of any relastionship is being tolerant of the differences you have, and respecting those differences.

This Week’s “Dear Abby Hijacked”

Today I am introducing, as a semi-regular feature on this blog, a segment called DEAR ABBY HIJACKED, in which I take letters to Dear Abby (printed earlier in the week) and provide my own answers without bothering to read what "Abby" said in response.

Simple concept really.  Might be fun.

So away we go with the debut installment:

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend, "Richie," and I have been together three years. Richie watches his pennies, so I was very surprised two days before Valentine’s Day to return from a family trip and find a gorgeous vase of professionally arranged flowers and a small heart-shaped box of chocolates on my coffee table.

I was very impressed, surprised and excited. I asked Richie where he got them, and he told me the name of a high-priced florist. I was off work the day before Valentine’s Day, so I went out, bought expensive wine and filet mignon and made a fantastic home-cooked meal for him.

When Richie got home from work, I asked him again where he got the flowers, and he again named the florist. I asked if he really went and got them, and if they were really intended for me. (It was just so out of character for him to splurge like that. The arrangement must have cost at least $100.) When he didn’t respond, I probed some more. He finally confessed they were from a funeral his parents had attended the day before I got home.

Can you believe Richie was trying to pass off flowers from a complete stranger’s funeral as nice flowers he got me for Valentine’s Day? He lied to me. Now he says I’m ungrateful and that there’s nothing wrong with what he did! I told him he is greedy and cheap, and the thoughtful thing to do with leftover funeral flowers would have been to take them to a cancer ward at a hospital or to a local nursing home.

What do you think? Am I overreacting? I’m afraid this may be a deal-breaker. — ANN IN GRAND RAPIDS, MICH.

Dear Ann,

Yes, I think you might be overreacting.  Why was it important that Richie have spent actual money on you?  Do you measure his love for you (or your love for him) by the amount of dollars and cents he spends?

And why is it less "thoughtful" to give those flowers to you rather than to a cancer ward or local nursing home? 

The fact is, he DID get those flowers for you for Valentine’s Day, and it doesn’t matter that he was able to get them for free.  The same goes for the chocolates (which you seem to have ignored).

That said, there may be a problem if Richie is financially well off and can afford to splurge on you.  But perhaps he can’t.  Does he "watch his pennies" because he HAS to, or because he truly is miserly?  It’s not clear from your letter.  If it is the former, then cut him some slack.  If it is the latter, then consider this incident a red flag. 

Another red flag is the fact that he initially lied to you.  But before you castigate him for that, ask yourself why you think he lied.  Was he ashamed?  Have you been so materialistic as to make him feel ashamed?  If the answer to those questions is "yes", then the two of you have much to work out, and that includes you.  If the answer is "no", then — again — you have yourself another red flag warning.

Sincerely,

Dear Abby Hijacked

DEAR ABBY: Will you please suggest a response that will end the conversation when someone comments in a negative way on how young I look, and asks what I have done? I’m 69, but look a decade younger.

I grew up plain and poor, but became a successful professional and changed my appearance. I have had hair and makeup lessons, advice on clothing and cosmetic surgery.

I often receive rude comments from both strangers and acquaintances who have chosen to age "naturally." I’m not interested in answering their sly questions about cosmetic surgery, but because I’m usually accosted in social settings, I don’t want to be rude. I just want to make them realize that I consider their questions impolite and want them to shut up. Any ideas? — PRETTY CAN BE BOUGHT, WACO, TEXAS

Dear Pretty,

Perhaps the thing to do is to not take compliments about "how young you look" negatively.  There is no shame in cosmetic surgery, getting hair and makeup lessons, etc.  The prejudice against those things seems to lie within you, not others.  Why not just be up front?  Why not say "I care about how I look, so I had my face lifted?"  Or whatever.

People taking an interest in your youthful looks is not impolite.  It’s a compliment.  Take it as one.  And if they still look down on you because you won’t allow yourself to age "naturally", then find yourself a new set of acquaintances who accept your lifestyle choices.  But before you can ask others to accept your choices, be sure that you have accepted those choices as well, and are proud of them.

Sincerely,

Dear Abby Hijacked