Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: Our daughter, "Lynn," is 19, attends college full time and comes home every day for meals and to do her homework. She earns good grades, works part time at school, and reimburses us for her excessive telephone calls.

Our problem is she refuses to listen to us when we encourage her to pick quality friends. We think her college friends are weird. They look disreputable with their tattoos and dirty clothes. Lynn says that she is legally an adult now, and she can see whom she wants.

Also, without consulting us, Lynn recently had her tongue pierced. She knew we would not approve. We think it looks stupid and it impedes her speech.

Abby, our daughter simply will not listen to us. She has big ideas about what she wants to do in the future. We have told her we will stand by her, but the truth is, she is doing everything she can do to retard her success in the world.

What should we do about our daughter? -- FRUSTRATED MOM IN NORTH JERSEY

DEAR FRUSTRATED MOM: Don't do a thing. Concentrate on what your daughter IS accomplishing:

She is attending college, which means she is going to be able to get a job when she graduates and support herself. (Provided she goes to the interview in clean business clothes, sans the tongue stud.)

She comes home every day, which means that you aren't worrying about her whereabouts.

She is working part time, which means that she does not totally rely on you for support.

She pays for her own "excessive" telephone calls.

I urge you not to squelch Lynn's "big ideas." Those are her dreams. Who's to say she might not attain them? Your daughter will outgrow the piercing and rebellion as she matures. (As will her friends.) Have patience.

DEAR ABBY: I am a divorced woman who recently moved to an upscale South Florida neighborhood. I noticed that the two women who live across the street frequently throw parties –- baby showers, graduation parties, etc. They invite everyone in the neighborhood except my nice, married next-door neighbor. She has not been invited to a single party since I've been here.

She knows there are parties, because the hostesses tie balloons to their mailboxes with messages such as "Happy Graduation," "It's a party!" or whatever. It's not as if she doesn't know the neighbors. She's lived here for five years. The neighbors always speak to her on the street, she says.

I suspect the reason she is being excluded is because she is extremely attractive. You can tell she works out a lot. The neighbors who snub her both have weight problems and short, unattractive haircuts. My friend next door has lovely, long, thick hair.

Do you think these women are trying to keep her away from their husbands? Are they insecure, envious or rude -– or perhaps all three? -- PUZZLED IN PARADISE

DEAR PUZZLED: You have hit the nail on the head when you questioned whether the hostesses could be insecure. However, neither your friend nor the hostesses have asked for my advice. Since I know none of the parties involved in the scenario, the better part of wisdom is to add no more grist to the rumor mill.

Although you are concerned for the feelings of your attractive neighbor, let your neighbors resolve their problems without involving yourself.

Dear Abby is written by Pauline Phillips and daughter Jeanne Phillips.

To order "How to Write Letters for All Occasions," send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600