DEAR ABBY: I read your column every day and appreciate the forum you provide for people to reach a large audience in an objective and effective way. I witnessed something the other day that could cause financial harm, and I feel your readers should be warned to be more careful.
My family had lunch in a busy fast-food restaurant. Seated at a table next to us was a gentleman conducting business over his cell phone. Since the restaurant was busy and loud, he raised his voice to be heard on the phone. Abby, he gave his credit card number, the expiration date, the name on the credit card and which credit card he was using! Anyone could have written that information down and used it for his or her own purposes.
Please warn your readers to be careful about giving out private information where it can be overheard. -- CONCERNED IN ANAHEIM
DEAR CONCERNED: Consider them warned. A lapse of judgment like that can wreak havoc on one's financial history. Readers, beware -- you never know who might be listening.
DEAR ABBY: I have been involved with a man since last November. I have opened up every aspect of my life and my home to him. Because of his work, he travels quite a bit, and while he is gone, he doesn't stay in contact. As long as he is "working" out of town, he won't call. When he returns, he calls to let me know. Sometimes days -- or even weeks -- have gone by without any word from him.
I'm at the end of my rope. I have tried explaining to him on several occasions how this makes me feel; nothing has helped. My friends tell me to lose him, but I really love the guy. Short of exploding on him the next time he calls, what should I do? -- SLEEPLESS IN OKLAHOMA
DEAR SLEEPLESS: Exploding won't help. Distancing yourself might.
He knows how you feel about his disappearing act. By not calling, he is giving you an unmistakable message: out of sight, out of mind. Although you have "opened up every aspect of your life and home" to him, he has not reciprocated.
Your friends may be on to something. Lose this loser. He will never make you happy.
DEAR ABBY: I could not agree more with your advice to "Had It in Houston" regarding the unruly neighbor child. The girl's neglectful parents would send her over "uninvited and unwanted" whenever they saw the family outdoors together.
I encountered a similar situation. This is how I handled it. I told the child, "Honey, your face is dirty -- let me wash it," or, "Honey, we don't speak to one another like that, we say this ..." or, "Sweetheart, if you cannot obey the rules here, you will have to go home now. I'm sorry." Or, "It's time for you to go home now. We'll see you tomorrow."
Abby, "Houston" must realize that this is a child, not an adult guest. Different rules apply. Also, what goes in their ears comes out of their mouths -- so use your firm, kind, gentle voice. -- EVERYBODY'S MOM, EL CAJON, CALIF.
DEAR MOM: You're a generous and caring woman. Having read your letter, I can only conclude that "everybody" is lucky to have an adult like you in their lives.
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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