Dear Abby: I am 18, and like most of my friends, I have gone away to college. We have a friend whose life went off track during our senior year because of drinking, drugs and other misbehavior. She’s now without a place to live or any support system.
She calls us from time to time, and we aren’t sure what to believe or how to help her since we are all in a different place in our lives, and far away. We won’t give her money because we are worried about what she might do with it, but we really do want to help her and be there for her. What is the best approach?
I agree that you should not give her money. The best approach would be for you to advise your friend to get into a shelter with social services for homeless women. If she does, she may be able to get into a substance abuse program, receive government benefits and straighten out her life. I’m not saying her road will be an easy one, but it can be done.
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Dear Abby: Is there a polite way to ask a colleague to stop bringing her kids to work? Our offices are next to each other, and the dividing wall doesn’t reach the ceiling. I have to hear them yelling at each other (they are 2 and 4), crying, whining and their mother’s attempts at discipline, etc. This isn’t occasional — it happens often.
Should I ask her politely to stop bringing them to work? Or should I ask management to shift my office away from hers?
Rather than risk a confrontation with your co-worker, this is something you should discuss either with your supervisor or your employer. While I empathize with the woman’s difficulty in finding someone to supervise her youngsters, if their presence in the workplace is disruptive, your needs should be accommodated.
Dear Abby: I have a family friend whose son has been engaged twice, to two different women. The first engagement was broken off by him, and the second by his fiancee.
Each time, his family threw him an engagement party (which he wanted) — and I was invited to both. Each time, as is customary, I bought a gift for the happy couple. Neither one was returned after the engagement was broken.
The first party was a pleasure to attend. The second one I found slightly awkward, but I wanted to be supportive of my friend. I brought a gift the second time because I didn’t want to be impolite.
If my friend’s son becomes engaged a third time and has an engagement party to which I am invited, am I obligated to bring a gift?
Polite Party Guest
No. I think by now you have given enough. And considering how your friend’s son’s luck has been after these engagement parties, I can’t imagine his family inviting the same people a third time and expecting them to give him anything more than their good wishes.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.