Dear Readers: I am sure that everyone is aware that today marks the second anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. I hope you will take just a moment to offer up a prayer for those people who lost their lives there, and in the field in Pennsylvania on that horrific day — and for the grieving families and friends who will live with their loss for the rest of their lives.
Let us also not forget the brave young men and women who have put their lives on hold as they serve in the U.S. armed forces under the most stressful conditions imaginable. One way to show our appreciation for their dedication is to go to the Web site OperationDearAbby.net, and send a message of encouragement and support. Let them know that they are in our thoughts today — and every day.
I am proud to say that more than 2 million of my caring, generous readers have sent messages to our troops so far. Please continue your support. They need us now more than ever as this conflict drags on.
Dear Abby: I am a 15-year-old girl from a financially secure family. My best friend, "Audrey," is in the opposite situation. Her parents are divorced. Her mother works full time to support the family.
I used to get annoyed at Audrey when she'd hesitate after I'd suggest we do something fun together. She finally admitted she didn't have the money. I feel awful because money has never been a problem for me, and I thought it was not a problem for any of my friends.
I love being with Audrey. I don't want her financial situation to put a damper on our friendship. I am more than willing to pay for things like admissions to amusement parks, movies and other events — and even buy her clothes when we go shopping together. The problem is, she is very sensitive about money. She never takes me up on my offers.
How do I get to do fun things with Audrey without making her feel she is accepting charity? — Not A Princess In Pasadena, Calif.
Dear Not A Princess: Stop offering to buy her clothes. Do offer to do things with her that don't cost a lot of money — listen to music, rent videos, exercise, or do homework together. Include her in some group activities (movies or amusement parks), but always let her reciprocate in some way. Respect her decisions, and remember that the burden of gratitude can sometimes hang very heavy, so try to keep a balance.
Dear Abby: I frequently host small dinner parties and get-togethers in my home for co-workers and friends. Most guests bring their spouse or a date. "Jane," a young lady with whom I work, has recently been corresponding with an inmate I'll call Al. Al was sentenced to eight years in prison, but will be released in a few weeks. Jane plans to bring him to my next dinner party.
Abby, Jane has dated abusive men in the past. When I asked her what Al was in prison for, she flipped out. She said, "Al has paid his debt to society! You shouldn't ask rude questions." When I gently inquired of Jane if Al had committed a violent crime, she hesitated. Then she said, "Well, sort of," and refused to elaborate.
Don't you agree that I have the right to know whom I am inviting into my home? Am I out of line or overly cautious? — Alarmed Host In Alabama
Dear Alarmed: Not at all. It's true that Al has paid his debt to society; however, you have the right to know whom you're entertaining in your home.
Arrange for Jane to introduce you to Al a few days before the party. It may put your fears to rest. But if it doesn't, cancel the event and schedule something else another time.
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 © Universal Press Syndicate