DEAR ABBY: Six months ago, I got back in touch with a childhood friend who married at 17 and moved away. She has lots of family drama, much of it caused by her alcoholism (which she says is a result of PTSD).
Recently, she told me I have hurt her and I'm a terrible friend because since we've reconnected, I have never once asked her about her past and the ordeals she's been through. Abby, she talks about herself constantly. I never thought it was necessary to ask her about the past because she never shuts up about it. I have tried to be a good listener, but I don't think she has made the best life choices.
I don't question people about their past, truthfully. I feel if they want to discuss it, they'll bring it up themselves. Now she won't even talk to me. -- FRIENDLESS IN FLORIDA
DEAR FRIENDLESS: Be grateful the woman no longer speaks to you. You have done nothing wrong. The person you describe needs to feel wronged and be the focus of your conversations, which to me seems self-centered. Consider yourself fortunate that this troubled individual has moved on.
DEAR ABBY: My family is very close, and we see each other often. Lately I have been avoiding most of our family gatherings because of my brother-in-law "Jared."
At the most recent family occasion, he was staring, winking and flashing peace signs at me. This is not friendly banter; it is very creepy. My sister isn't aware of it, and I'm sure she wouldn't approve.
I have been married four times, and I'm currently single. If his behavior continues, I will have to skip family events entirely. Any thoughts? -- HARD TO RESIST OUT WEST
DEAR HARD TO RESIST: Because you feel your brother-in-law is out of line, try this: Tell him to cut it out the next time he does it because it is making you uncomfortable. And if that doesn't do the trick, tell his wife.
DEAR ABBY: I'm a male who recently started dating a great guy, "Jake." I deal with the public in my job every day, and I'm often asked things like, "Do you have a girlfriend?" and, "When will you find a wife?" Is there a tactful, succinct, non-awkward way to let people know I'm in a happy relationship with another male? -- IN A HAPPY PLACE IN GEORGIA
DEAR HAPPY: Absolutely! When asked if you have a girlfriend, say, "No, I have a boyfriend."