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by Abigail Van Buren

Busybodies Frustrate Worker Who Wants to Be Left Alone

DEAR ABBY: My co-workers are so nosy they're driving me crazy. When I go into my boss's office to talk to him, my co-workers pump me with remarks like, "Oh, you had to talk with the boss," in an effort to get me to disclose the reason for the conference. When I am at the copier, these busybodies pop over to the copier to see what I am copying. If they don't get what they came for, they'll follow me into my office.

If I stay in my office to complete a project by the deadline, they come in and ask things like, "Are you hiding?" or, "Why are you so quiet today?"

Abby, do you know what it's like to constantly be asked what you are doing? How can I get my co-workers out of my hair? -- FRUSTRATED IN OKLAHOMA

DEAR FRUSTRATED: Rather than taking it personally and allowing yourself to be put on the defensive, try to be more tolerant. Coming into your office to see why you are so quiet could be considered a friendly gesture.

Your co-workers could be motivated by curiosity or nosiness, have too much time on their hands, or be nursing a guilt complex that makes them fearful of any private conversation between the boss and a co-worker. You'd be ahead to just laugh it off rather than take it seriously -- because they probably do it to each other, too.

DEAR ABBY: I am writing in response to your advice for the woman in Sacramento, Calif., whose husband of four years spends hours with, and buys gifts for, his former wife. She stated that she is unhappy, fearful of him, and is nothing more than his housekeeper.

Please tell this woman about an organization in Sacramento called WEAVE (Women Escaping A Violent Environment). They will assist her with shelter, care, legal issues and support.

This woman needs to get out now, and present that worthless, selfish husband of hers a bill for the years of maid service she has provided him. This is not a normal marriage. She deserves to be happy with someone who appreciates her. -- BEEN THERE, DONE THAT IN SANTA ANA, CALIF.

DEAR B.T.D.T.: I agree this is not a normal marriage and the woman deserves a mate who will appreciate her. I was not aware there was an organization that would help women who have been threatened by their spouses -- but who had not yet been battered.

When I spoke to a staff member at WEAVE, she informed me that they do help women who are suffering from emotional and verbal abuse -- and that all domestic abuse organizations will help victims of ANY type of abuse. The National Domestic Violence Hotline, (800) 799-7233, will refer callers to an organization in their local area.

DEAR ABBY: Thank you for pointing out to "My Kid's Mom" that "bigotry is alive and well in every community because it seems that some people have a need to feel superior."

No man should have a "need to feel superior," Abby. The words of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. come to mind and are worth repeating:

"Every man is somebody because he is a child of God." -- ARTHUR H. PRINCE, Ph.D., MEMPHIS, TENN.

DEAR DR. PRINCE: And so is every woman. Thanks for a terrific quote.

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-size, 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, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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