DEAR ABBY: I loaned money to a couple of family members when I was overseas. They had fallen behind on their bills, so I sent them each $1,000 to get caught up.
It's two years later, and I have yet to see a dime from either one of them. I have sent them both letters asking to have "some" money paid back; both sent me excuses about why they can't pay anything. However, on Facebook they write about how they went shopping, joined a gym and so on. I feel I have been taken advantage of. What can I do to get this settled? -- TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF IN MINNESOTA
DEAR TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF: Try this ... post on your Facebook page: "It's funny what short memories some people have. I loaned 'Tom' and 'Geri' $1,000 two years ago when they fell behind on some bills. Instead of repayment, I have received nothing but excuses -- and all the while I see their postings about shopping at the mall and going to the gym. What DEADBEATS!"
Maybe it will shame your relatives into paying up. (Or not, because some people have no shame.)
DEAR ABBY: Do I have to stop wearing my wedding ring? My husband died three years ago. We had been married 53 years and 12 days. Abby, I pledged "until death do us part." I just can't seem to make myself take off the ring he put on my finger so many years ago.
I'm tired of being told that I "have" to give up something so precious to me. Is there a time limit, or is it OK for me to go ahead with wearing the ring and ignore the people who pester me about taking it off? Maybe a time will come when I'll want to, but not now, not yet. Please give me some sound advice. -- ARIZONA WIDOW
DEAR WIDOW: Please accept my sympathy for your loss. Widows and widowers usually remove their wedding ring at the point when they decide they would like to begin dating again. When they do, some of them choose to move the ring from their left to the right hand. Others put it away as a treasured keepsake.
There is no set time at which your wedding ring "must" come off. If and when you feel the time is right, it will happen -- or not. This is a personal decision that no one can or should make for you.
DEAR ABBY: I'm 15 years old, and I'm afraid to kiss! I won't date anyone because I'm afraid my kiss will suffer by comparison. I know no one becomes an expert without practice, but I don't want anyone to be my first kiss.
Several guys are into me, but I can't date them because eventually they'll want to kiss. It would be so embarrassing to be horrible at it. Any advice? -- TOO FREAKED OUT TO MAKE OUT
DEAR FREAKED OUT: Kissing isn't a competitive sport, so stop worrying that you won't measure up. A kiss doesn't have to be the way it's portrayed in the movies, with heavy breathing and mouths agape. Whether a guy wants to kiss you isn't as important as whether you want him to kiss you. If you do, all you have to do is close your eyes, tilt your head a bit to the side and lean in. He will take care of the rest.
I remember my first "real" kiss. I was 12, and my parents had decided to move from Wisconsin to California. I had a crush on a 16-year-old usher at the local movie theater. (He looked so handsome in his uniform!) Two weeks before we were scheduled to leave, I summoned the courage to approach him after a show, told him I was leaving, and asked if he'd give me my first real kiss. Once he got over his visible surprise, he did. It was sweet, gentle, chaste, and I've never forgotten it.