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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I have had an unusually close bond with my son's best friend, "Chad." We talk several times a week and enjoy each other's company. Chad is 17. I am 45. He has always made me feel special.

Recently I chaperoned a school dance, and he was there. While checking the back hallway, I saw him kissing a girl. I was stunned by my reaction. I broke down in front of them. I sobbed like a teen-ager whose boyfriend was cheating on her. Other students and adults also witnessed my unfortunate display of emotions. Now I am afraid to talk with Chad -- and he's made no effort to call me.

Abby, I honestly don't know how to explain myself. I am afraid this will affect Chad's friendship with my son, as well. I do not want to lose my relationship with this wonderful young man, whom I dearly love. What do I do now? -- EMOTIONAL MOM IN PASADENA, CALIF.

DEAR EMOTIONAL MOM: I think you have done enough. It's time to put some distance between you and this lad. You didn't mention whether or not you have a husband. If you are single, it's time to concentrate your energies on someone closer to your own age.

DEAR ABBY: The "Are You an Alcoholic?" test you printed listing 12 questions was good as far as it went -- but it didn't go far enough. I'm sure that anyone who was raised by, or married to, or has a friend who is an alcoholic cringed when they read it.

Where were these questions: When you take one or two drinks, can you stop and walk away? Have you ever embarrassed yourself or someone else when drinking? Do you drink every day? How many times in the last month have you awakened with a hangover? Do you spend money you don't have on alcohol? Has this affected your sleeping habits? (Do you pass out, get a drink in the middle of the night, or wet the bed when you sleep because of alcohol?)

There are many "working" alcoholics and many who don't work -- mostly women -- because they are financially able not to. I know, because between parents, a husband and a good friend, I have experienced it all.

Please rethink your test and add these questions. -- BEEN THERE IN SAN DIEGO

DEAR BEEN THERE: I'll do that. And thank you for the valuable input.

DEAR ABBY: I would like to add a thought to David Broome's words of encouragement to "Scared About the New Job." He said, "Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic."

While I appreciate his sentiment and completely agree with his contrasting the success of the ark to that of the Titanic, I must point out that the success of the ark was not due to its contractor, but to its architect. -- GARY SHIRLEY, OCEAN SPRINGS, MISS.

DEAR GARY: I'm pleased to "float" your theory.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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