Dear Abby: I was very upset a couple of weeks ago, so I placed a collect long-distance telephone call to a dear friend whose advice was excellent.

When I returned home, my husband suggested I send her a check as reimbursement for the phone call. Knowing my friend, I said, "She'll never accept it." With that in mind, I sent her a thank-you note with cash enclosed to cover the amount of the call. In the note, I suggested, "You and your hubby get a triple-deck ice cream cone with the change--for being the dear, generous people you are." (I felt it would add a light, whimsical touch to the note.)To my dismay, my friend called and told me she had never been so insulted in her life that I'd put cash in the envelope, as she had thought our friendship was above that, and she would not hesitate to ask me for anything. I told her that she was right, but I felt uncomfortable making her pay for my phone call, and this had nothing to do with our friendship. She also mentioned that she had a refrigerator full of ice cream and did not need the money. I tried to explain that because she is so special, this was my way of saying thank you.

She still maintains that it was insulting and I was a mile out of line. Abby, was I? The one in error has promised to eat the telephone bill.

--Red in the Face

Dear Red: You were the one in error, but don't start eating yet. Perhaps your husband felt he was doing the right thing by suggesting that you insert money into a loving, friendly relationship--but a small gift would have been better than a check or cash. HE should eat the phone bill.

Dear Abby: You recently listed the best place for women to meet men, but you left out the best place of all: the grocery store! Especially early Sunday mornings. I usually go between 7:30 and 8 a.m., and there are always a lot of single guys there. They are like lost little boys. If they are shopping that early, you can be sure they weren't at the bars the night before, You can also tell a lot about a guy by the food he buys. They can never find anything and aren't afraid to ask for help.

Often they will ask what ingredients go into a certain recipe. I always tell them I am not sure of all the ingredients or the amounts, but if they will give me their phone number, I will call them with the info after I get home and check my cookbook.

I never give them my phone number until I have talked to them on the phone several times. And I always call them back to ask how the recipe turned out.

Abby, I've lived in several parts of the country and have met exciting and interesting men in grocery stores everywhere I've lived.

Try it, ladies. It works!

--Love That Aisle

Dear Love: What a great suggestion! One can expect to find a terrific assortment of fruit, nuts, hot tamales and cold fish. There's something for everyone.

Dear Abby: My husband and I received a graduation announcement, and with it came a self-addressed envelope from the sender. What colossal nerve!

Abby, if you were in our place, how would you handle this?

--No Name in Yakima, Wash.

Dear No Name: I would write a cordial note of congratulations and return it to the sender.