DEAR ABBY: I am a very conservative woman. I don't drink, dance, wear makeup or pants. I enjoy the company of friends despite our differences and thought they enjoyed mine.
On our most recent outing, however, they mocked my religious jewelry, commented on my "lack of fashion," and made me feel guilty for not wanting to stay out late.
Despite this, they are great friends and would help me at the drop of a hat. I don't bring up their being overweight, or that I think some of the clothes they wear are ugly. I don't criticize them for sleeping around. I wish they would accept me for who I am.
I am considering not going out with them the next time they ask, but I don't really want it to come to that. Any suggestions? -- JUST AN OLD-FASHIONED GIRL
DEAR OLD-FASHIONED: Just this: It's time for you to start cultivating relationships with people whose values are more like your own. The friends you have described may be lovely, but their comments were out of line and folks are known by the company they keep. If you spend a lot of time with the women you have described, people will begin to make assumptions about YOU.
DEAR ABBY: Two of my children, ages 28 and 30 and college-educated, have what they call "bill paying anxiety." It doesn't matter if they have the money or not, they find it difficult to pay their bills. They have both lost their licenses for not paying traffic tickets, but that hasn't taught either one of them a lesson. Any advice on how to help them? -- ANXIOUS MOM IN WASHINGTON
DEAR MOM: How long have those two been out from under your roof? Did you pay all their expenses until recently? Your "children" aren't children anymore. They have reached an age when they must now learn from their mistakes. When they're ready to assume responsibility for their actions, they'll do what other adults who are in this kind of hot water do: They will seek financial or psychological counseling and recognize that acting like ostriches will not fix their problems, and neither will Mama.
DEAR ABBY: My 24-year-old daughter, "Evy," is falling to the rocky bottom. She has taken advantage of everyone in our family. She thinks she's the victim instead of realizing she is the problem.
She's planning to marry "Dave," a man she has known for only six months. She refuses to consider his past criminal record of domestic abuse. Abby, this man has several children, one of whom he does not acknowledge.
Am I wrong to be involved in this wedding? I feel it would be a mistake to be "supportive" when I'm totally against it. Dave has pushed her already, and I know what lies ahead for her if she goes through with this marriage. Also, her behavior has changed drastically since she has been involved with him. -- TO BE OR NOT TO BE ... THE MOTHER OF THE BRIDE
DEAR T.B. OR N.T.B.: You will always be your daughter's mother, but you don't have to bless this marriage with your presence. Some people have to learn their lessons the hard way, and your daughter appears to be one of them. She needs to understand that while you do not approve of Dave, you love her. Keep the lines of communication open because she is going to need you in the future.