DEAR MISS MANNERS: Over the years, the gift-giving experience of grandparent to granddaughter has developed into a kind of predictable dance: A grandparent will call us and note that granddaughter’s birthday/Christmas is approaching. They will then ask what she wants.
DEAR ABBY: I am a single 25-year-old man with a 15-month-old son. I didn’t plan on having any children, but my son is everything to me. His mother and I did not work out well living together. We had different priorities and personalities and could not comfortably coexist.
DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: I know you often say that God loves us, but I’m not really feeling it. My girlfriend says I just need to take it on faith, but why should I? After all, maybe it’s not true. Besides that, I’m not sure it makes any difference. — S.L.
DEAR ABBY: I was laid off from work, but my husband, Keith, works full time in a factory. We live with his parents. By the time Keith gets home from work and gets cleaned up, its time to eat dinner. Immediately afterward, we always follow the same routine: We go in our bedroom, and he goes on the computer to play video games, while I sit and watch TV and play on my phone.
DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: I know I shouldnt get upset when people criticize me, but I just cant help it. Even when I know theyre wrong, it still upsets me and sends me into an emotional tailspin. How can I learn to handle criticism? M.S.
DEAR ABBY: Im 12 and weigh 204 pounds. I feel really fat, and I want to go on a diet, but my mom wont let me. Im getting bad grades in gym class and need your help. Sad Girl in New Hampshire
DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: I know were supposed to love everybody if were good Christians, but isnt that unrealistic? Some people just arent very lovable (including some of our relatives well have to be with at Christmas). Its all I can do to put up with them for a few hours. N.L.
DEAR ABBY: My parents and sister live three hours away, so my family stays with me when they come to town. Over the last few years, I noticed things began to disappear from my home. They are usually small and portable earrings, in particular. The idea of someone stealing from me was very upsetting. When I mentioned it to my sister, she suggested that it could be our housekeeper.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: As the assistant for one of the executives at my company, I routinely answer his phone with, Good morning/afternoon, this is John Does office. I even have a note on the phone reminding me to smile before picking up, because I know that people can tell the difference (strange, but true).
DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: Im already depressed about Christmas. Last year, we resolved not to spend as much money or get so busy, but I can already tell that its not going to happen. How we can make Christmas what it ought to be, instead of this rat race? E.J.
DEAR ABBY: Im the proud mother of four beautiful children a daughter, a son and 8-year-old twin boys. I am having a hard time getting people to understand that my boys, whom I rarely refer to as twins, are two SEPARATE people!
DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: Im in the county jail for the third time this year, once again for something minor. Each time, Ive said Im going to do better, but then I get sucked into doing something wrong and end up back here. Why am I such a weak person? Im about to give up on myself. R.T.
DEAR ABBY: I have been with my fiance since 2006. We expected to be married in 2008, but my grandmother died a month before my wedding, and then he was arrested because of charges stemming from a sexual relationship hed had with a 17-year-old girl he had been counseling.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My neighbors were kind enough to help me with a large household problem. To demonstrate my gratitude, I baked a cake and took it to their house two days later.
DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: Sometimes my faith is so weak Im not even sure its still there. Is this common? D.L.
DEAR ABBY: I am a 38-year-old woman who has been dating a 41-year-old man for seven months. Hes wonderful and treats me magnificently. We have similar values and interests and are very much in love. Sadly, although I have always wanted children, he does not.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: How can one know if she is talking too much or being talkative? I like to think Im funny and engaging, that I tell a good story and am an entertaining guest and hostess.
DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: I know you say were all sinners and we all fail to live up to Gods moral standards, but maybe He doesnt even care what we do. Maybe God just wants us to be happy and have a good time. Could I be right? I hope so. J.M.
DEAR ABBY: I recently went on a business trip that required me to share meals with my co-workers. I became the target of criticism from them over my eating habits because I like to eat my dessert first. It doesnt keep me from eating the rest of the meal; I just do it in a different order than most people.
DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: I dont fear death because I believe that after I die Ill come back to Earth again and be born as another person. Why are Christians so opposed to this idea? Other religions dont have a problem with it. H.K.
DEAR ABBY: I have been seeing my boyfriend, Casey, for a year. He has said throughout our courtship that we could get married in four to five years. Over the past couple of months, he has become distant and less romantic. I drive four hours to see him almost every week, and he seems fine then, but when were apart, he rarely texts me and seems disinterested.
DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: I just turned 80, and Ive gotten along just fine all these years without God. Youll probably tell me I ought to be worrying about death and hell and all of that, but I dont believe in life after death. Why should I? People who try to convert me make me tired. D.J.
DEAR ABBY: My fiancee and I are getting married next summer. Last summer, my closest friend a woman was murdered. Her husband was charged with the crime. Both of them were to be a part of the wedding party. The husband, Frank, was to be my best man.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My 7-year-old daughter has two friends from the same family who live down the street. I am not friendly with their mother at all, although I have met her before. She is a single parent with seven children in the household, ranging from 6 to 15 years old.
DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: I know Jesus said were supposed to forgive people whove hurt us, but why bother? As far as I can tell, it doesnt really change them. P.L.