DEAR ABBY: I have recently become engaged. I was approached last week by an old friend, "Lindsay," who sat me down and asked me in a serious manner if she could be a bridesmaid in my wedding. I was taken aback by her question and responded awkwardly, saying I hadn't decided yet. She looked hurt, and I quickly changed the subject.

Frankly, Lindsay is someone I hadn't considered asking to be in my wedding because we have grown apart over the years.

I will be selecting my bridesmaids soon, and I don't want to hurt her feelings even more. How should I handle this? -- BRIDE-TO-BE IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR BRIDE-TO-BE: As I see it, you have two choices. You can pretend Lindsay never asked you that question. Or, you can have a chat with her and explain that you and your fiance have discussed who will be in the bridal party, and, because you and she have grown apart over the years, you have decided to ask other people.

Either way, she's not going to like it. But remember, she was presumptuous to put you on the spot in the first place, and you are under no obligation to ask her.

Add your comments to the discussion.

DEAR ABBY: I'm an attractive, single, successful, 27-year-old woman who has struggled with anorexia ever since I was 12. I have learned to live with it and feel no need to advertise it to the world. However, I find that many strangers, including a large number of people I associate with at work, feel a compulsion to comment on my weight (105 pounds and 5 foot 9), the size of the clothes I wear, or what I eat. It's as uncomfortable a subject for me as I imagine it is for people who are overweight, and I have no "pat" answer for them.

When work associates ask your size or your weight, or even go so far as to assume you have an eating disorder, is there a polite response to remind them of the inappropriateness of their question? -- ANNOYED AT 105

DEAR ANNOYED: Clearly, your weight issues are more obvious to those around you than you chose to believe. However, you are under no obligation to answer these intrusive questions if it makes you uncomfortable. When confronted, reply, "That's a very personal question (or subject), and I'd prefer not to discuss it." Then change the subject.

Add your comments to the discussion.

DEAR ABBY: I'm a female in my mid-20s, starting on a career as a professional musician. I play an instrument, the flugelhorn, that is played professionally by fewer females than males. I have also been gifted with good looks.

On many occasions when I've performed with a group, I have received compliments from band members as well as members of the audience, usually about my playing AND my appearance. (I dress tastefully, not provocatively.)

Do you have some creative ways of saying "thank you" to these nice people? I realize that just a simple "thank you" is always appropriate, but is there another way I can respond to show my appreciation for their kind words without sounding like I'm rejecting the compliment or I have heard it a thousand times? -- JESSE IN BURBANK

DEAR JESSE: Sometimes the more "creative" someone is, the more room there is for misinterpretation. When acknowledging a compliment, keep it simple. Just say, "Thank you," or, "How kind of you to say that."

Add your comments to the discussion.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

Add your comments to the discussion.

More like Dear Abby