DEAR ABBY: My husband and I decided a couple of years ago that we wanted to live a simpler, slower-paced life. We decided to get rid of our TV, tablets and social media accounts and trade our smartphones in for flip phones, among other changes. We have picked up new hobbies and have been learning better communication skills. The result: We find ourselves happier and less stressed overall.
The problem is we have encountered a lot of hostility from friends and family. We have been told we are crazy, backward, anti-technology, and have even been accused of abusing our kids because they spend most of their time outdoors and don't watch TV.
I really don't understand why people are angry. Maybe they feel we are judging them (we aren't), or maybe they just don't like when others choose a different path. How do we deal with people's big emotions over such a small matter? -- UNPLUGGED IN OHIO
DEAR UNPLUGGED: Social media can be a blessing, and for many individuals it has become the primary way of maintaining contact with others. Your friends and family may be bothered because they have to make more effort in order to have a relationship with you.
Because you have chosen the direction in which you want to go, your best "defense" would be to keep your sense of humor and ignore the snark whenever possible.
DEAR ABBY: This is in reply to "Hung Up on the Ring in Reno" (Nov. 11), whose girlfriend insists on a very expensive ring as part of the marriage proposal. He believes she equates her value and social status with the size of the stone.
I was married in the early 1970s. When my fiance and I went to a jeweler to select my ring, I sorted through several trays of gold rings, searching for just the right one. Finally, in the last tray, I found exactly what I wanted -- a little gold band trimmed with an etched design around the edges. I held my breath as the jeweler quoted the price -- $13!
That sweet little gold band has been on the third finger of my left hand for 45 years. It has nothing to do with my value and social status, but rather, represents 4 1/2 decades of love, mutual respect and sharing. I wouldn't trade it for the Hope Diamond, and I intend to wear it until my final day on Earth. -- NANCY IN UPSTATE NEW YORK
DEAR NANCY: It appears your husband and the jeweler had something important in common -- an eye for quality.