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DEAR ABBY: My friend "Russ" is a sweet, quiet, reserved guy with a goofy side. He's in his mid-20s, but has never kissed a girl or gone out on a date. (He is the kind of person girls regard as a brother figure.) He has no confidence and doesn't drink, dance or let loose. I have seen his dating profiles, and they are brutally unappealing.

I want to help Russ find someone before it's too late. I hate seeing him lonely. He needs someone to give him a chance and help him learn to be more confident. I know it's wrong to try to change someone, but I feel if he doesn't get some help, no one will ever give him the time of day. He needs a sense of adventure and, frankly, a change of wardrobe.

How can I help this "good boy" get the attention of the ladies? -- AMANDA IN WYOMING

DEAR AMANDA: You are a good friend. Talk to Russ and ask if he would be open to a bit of "coaching" to improve his social life. Tell him you have seen his dating profiles and offer to help him tweak them. If new photos are needed, suggest you go shopping together for a new outfit (or two), so he will have a more "contemporary" look. If he needs to learn to dance, show him some steps.

He may accept some help if you approach the subject with sensitivity. However, I'm not sure how much more than that you can do because, in the end, Russ is going to have to find a girl whose values mirror his own.


DEAR ABBY: Our 2-year-old granddaughter is using "dirty words" during her visits with us. We have tried ignoring her, and also popping her on the bottom while saying "no." Her mother uses this language, so this situation is very confusing for our granddaughter. Please help. -- CONFUSED IN THE SOUTH

DEAR CONFUSED: Someone needs to explain to the mother that the "dirty words" her daughter is being taught are normal are sure to create problems for her when she's old enough for school. Perhaps it will be the wakeup call she needs to clean up her vocabulary.

However, if that isn't effective, then it's up to you to teach your granddaughter that dirty words cannot be used in your home. Reward her when she remembers, remind her when she forgets and institute penalties if it persists. That's how kids learn, and you will be doing her a favor if you start early.

Read more in: Family & Parenting

DEAR ABBY: My wife and I have been married for 50 years. We were both raised in a conservative religion, but haven't attended Sunday services in a long time.

I have become more liberal than my wife over the years, and I recently attended a service at a liberal, internationally recognized church. I felt I belonged immediately. I had never before felt so happy to be with like-minded worshippers. My wife had huge issues with it, and the next time I wanted to attend, she got very upset. There was an iciness around the house for three days after I went. That was a month ago, and I haven't gone again.

I resent my wife's resistance. This coming Sunday, I plan to tell her I'll be "going out" and will be back in a couple of hours. No doubt she'll know I'm at church, and I'll pay the price with her cold attitude or tears. Does she have a right to tell me I can't attend a particular church? -- MOVED BY THE SPIRIT

DEAR MOVED: No, she does not! In light of the fact that you haven't attended church together in years, she should be happy for you.

Read more in: Marriage & Divorce

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