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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I'm 51 and on SSI because I'm disabled. In order to have a roof over my head, I have shared housing. I left the last house-sharing situation because it was dangerous for my grandchildren to visit me. Then I moved in with "Mr. Blank."

Abby, this man treats me like a princess. I don't have to do anything I don't want to do. In fact, I could sleep all day if I want to. I love living here.

The problem is, Mr. Blank thinks he's in love with me and wants to tell his children that we are a couple. Abby, he's much older than I am, and I don't think I could ever love him the way he wants me to. (I quit looking for a love match years ago.) However, I would have no place to go if he became angry and asked me to move.

Mr. Blank reads your column every day, so please help me by printing my letter. Perhaps he will recognize himself and understand that I can't make a commitment to him, but I want to remain his friend. -- HAPPY HOUSEMATE

DEAR HAPPY HOUSEMATE: In case Mr. Blank does not recognize himself in my column, I suggest you set the record straight with him yourself. Tell him how much you love living there and how much you appreciate his kindness, but let him know that you are not looking for a commitment. Assure him that it's nothing personal, but you stopped looking for love a long time ago, and if you change your mind, he'll be the first to know. Good luck!

DEAR ABBY: I have a pet peeve: people who call me on the phone and expect me to recognize their voices. This is especially irritating when it involves business calls. One of our company's clients never identifies himself. He has a pleasant voice but it has no unique quality, and every time he calls I have to ask who is calling. It's embarrassing for me and I worry that it insults him. I don't want to lose a client, and I certainly don't want to tell him that his voice is so ordinary I simply cannot recognize it.

Isn't it a matter of courtesy when you call someone to announce your name and ask for the person with whom you would like to speak? -- CLUELESS IN MILWAUKEE

DEAR CLUELESS: I agree it is courteous to identify yourself when placing a call -- especially a business call. One way to eliminate embarrassment is by answering business calls with an introduction that pleasantly requests callers to identify themselves right off the bat. For example: "Good afternoon. Company ABC. Mary Smith speaking. Who's calling, please?"

DEAR ABBY: I just turned 18, and my divorced mother and her steady boyfriend recently broke up. Now she wants to double-date with me.

Abby, my mother is almost 40 years old, and I'll never be able to get a date if I must double-date with her. What can I do? Mom reads your column, and I'm hoping you will publish my letter so she'll see that double-dating with me is not a good idea. -- DAUGHTER IN A BIND

DEAR DAUGHTER: Your mother may be almost 40, but she has young ideas. Tell her you still need her to be a mother, not a "pal" -- that at your age it would inhibit you and your date. However, in another five or six years (when you're all closer to the same level of maturity), it might be more fun for all of you.

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS, and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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