DEAR ABBY: I recently received a Facebook message from a 47-year-old mother of four who believes she is my daughter. While I do not remember her mother and have communicated this to the woman, the pictures she sent of her children somewhat resemble my family.
I’m happily married with two sons, and my wife is aware of this and will support any decision I make. I’m conflicted about the choices before me and the impact they may have on her family and mine. What is the right thing to do? — Conflicted in Florida
DEAR CONFLICTED: Try to get a little more background from the woman about her mother. For instance, WHY does she think you are her father? Were you and her mother ever in the same place at the same time? If there is a possibility that you could be her dad, the ethical thing to do would be to let her know that your attorney will be contacting her to arrange a DNA test.
No honking, please
DEAR ABBY: Please tell me what to say to persuade my friend to stop driving up in front of my house and honking his horn. I have asked him twice not to do it, but it continues.
It may seem like a small thing to him, but I think it’s disrespectful to me for him to toot his horn like I’m supposed to come running out. A more courteous approach would be to call me and say he’s near, or to ring the doorbell when he arrives. Am I being old-fashioned? — Expects Respect in Charlotte, N.C.
DEAR EXPECTS: No. In light of the fact that you have asked this person more than once not to do this, he is rude. In addition, when a driver honks his or her horn repeatedly in a residential neighborhood, the noise can be disruptive to your neighbors.
Should Mom be told of bad news?
DEAR ABBY: I recently phoned one of my mother’s best friends, “Edna,” to wish her a happy birthday. It was her 101st. When I asked her about her family, she spent some time sobbing over the recent news that her eldest son has cancer.
My first thought — and that of several others — was, why was she told?! Edna is frail and in poor health. She has seen her share of tragedies and losses in her long life, and I think she should have been spared this devastating news.
Hearing her sob on her birthday broke my heart. However, a couple of my friends disagreed with me. They thought she ought to know. Your thoughts on this would be appreciated. — Wondering in the West
DEAR WONDERING: There are no hard-and-fast rules that apply to these situations. Although Edna may no longer be able to live independently, her thinking may be clear and she is still the matriarch of the family. When you withhold information from someone, even if it’s well-intentioned, it isolates the person. Because the conversation upset you to such an extent that you felt you had to write to me, my thought is you should let Edna’s children know what happened.
Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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