DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: I’m not sure I believe in God. I’d believe in him, I suppose, if he actually spoke to me or something like that, but he never has, and I doubt if he ever will. I’d like to believe, but I just can’t make myself do it. — A.D.
DEAR ABBY: My 17-year-old daughter, “Erica,” is planning to marry her 24-year-old boyfriend. I use the term “boyfriend” loosely because their relationship consists entirely of texting, talking on the phone and the Internet. There has been no dating or getting to know each other in person. Erica is intent on marrying this man even though he has lied to her several times in addition to having lied to us. She is planning to attend a four-year college.
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 Doe’s 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 ABBY: As the education director of the East Bay Bicycle Coalition, I work hard to encourage safe and courteous cycling for everyday transportation in Northern California. There are a number of points I would like to address to Caring Reader, Sacramento, Calif.
DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: Does God judge us for every sin we do, no matter how big or small it is? I hope I dont lose my salvation every time I think a bad thought or fail to do something I should, but I worry about this. M.M.
DEAR ABBY: Im considering marrying a man who is divorced. We get along great, and I love and trust him. Is it ever appropriate to call the ex and discuss her side of the story? Or should I ask my boyfriend what shed say if I were to contact her? Covering My Bases in California
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I fly frequently on business and, as often as possible, book a seat in the exit row for the additional room needed to work while in flight. On two recent flights, I boarded the aircraft to find another passenger in my seat who asked if I would mind changing seats so a couple or family could sit together.
DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: Ive been an officer in our church for several years, but Ive decided to resign. Recently, I realized that my only reason for being an officer was so people would admire me, and I know thats not right. But how should I explain this? R.M.
DEAR ABBY: I am a single 25-year-old man with a 15-month-old son. I didnt 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 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 granddaughters birthday/Christmas is approaching. They will then ask what she wants.
DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: I know you often say that God loves us, but Im not really feeling it. My girlfriend says I just need to take it on faith, but why should I? After all, maybe its not true. Besides that, Im 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.