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Dear Abby: Charles (not his real name) is married, and it's against my principles to go out with a married man. I first realized he was attracted to me when I would see him around town or at a football game, and he would always give me long looks (stares). This has been going on for about a year.

Charles asked me if I would have lunch with him sometime, and I said, "Maybe," with a smile, so I'm sure he is going to ask me again.My question: Do you think it would be all right to go to lunch with him? He is really nice, and I'd like to become friends (just friends) with him. I have already told him that I wouldn't go out on an evening date with him, but I see nothing wrong with meeting him for lunch. Do you?

By the way, I'm 20 and single; Charles is 24.

- Confused

Dear Confused: Since you know there is a mutual attraction between you and Charles, why tempt the fates?

Many a relationship has started with lunch and ended with breakfast.

Dear Abby: I have a friend who thinks that shoplifting every once in a while is OK.

Most of the time, she steals small things like pens, batteries, lipstick, etc. But once she actually got away with a $40 computer program.

I don't want to notify the police because she is my best friend. What do you advise? I have heard that shoplifting is a "symptom" that the person is trying to fulfill some kind of deep-seated psychological need.

Abby, please don't mention where this letter is from. It's a very small town.

- Shoplifter's Friend

Dear Friend: Your friend must surely know that shoplifting is a crime, and it's never "OK." It costs merchants millions of dollars nationally - and drives up the prices for all of us.

Since shoplifting is sometimes a symptom of an emotional problem, you should urge your friend to seek counseling.

And now I have a little unsolicited advice for YOU: Birds of a feather flock together, so if you can't persuade your friend to get help and give up shoplifting - you'd be wise to give up your friend.

Dear Abby: A neighbor and I have been having a dispute over a petition he asked me to sign. Abby, all I did was tell him I would have to read it carefully first, because I would never sign anything without reading it.

He became very angry, said I had insulted him, and inferred that I didn't trust him. Abby, that was not true. I do trust him; I just wanted to know what I was signing.

Was I right or wrong?

- Waukegan Reader

Dear Reader: You were not only right, you are the kind of person every lawyer would like to have for a client.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)