DEAR ABBY: I am a sophomore in high school and the middle child. I get good grades, do the laundry, and usually don't complain when my parents ask me to do something. Overall, I'm a pretty good kid.
I asked my parents if I could get my tongue pierced if I got all A's on my report card. They won't even consider it. My mom said she would never change her mind. Every time I talk about it, they change the subject and it's really annoying.
I just got my progress report back today and I got all A's. In English and math, I got 100. Most of my friends didn't get straight A's.
Don't you agree my parents are being unfair and unreasonable? My mom is scared of my being rebellious. My dad just thinks they look trashy. Abby, this is how I want to express myself. It is who I am, and I don't think my parents should prevent me. What should I do to convince them? -- DEPRESSED IN DECATUR, GA.
DEAR DEPRESSED: Tongue piercing may seem like a terrific way to "express yourself," but it can lead to chipped teeth and a speech impediment, not to mention a nasty infection if you're unlucky. While your parents may seem excessively controlling, they have your best interests at heart. (They probably think you already have enough holes in your head.)
Your intelligence is far above average. When you are 18 and out on your own, you can pierce to your heart's content if you wish. I'm sure you can find a less radical way to express your inner self if you put your mind to it.
DEAR ABBY: How can you make friends understand that they should wait for an invitation before coming to visit? They also need to stay in a motel when they do come. We have friends who invite themselves once a year to spend about five nights in our home.
I have a serious medical condition and have undergone several operations. I make subtle hints about being in pain and not needing company, yet they never seem to understand that I am talking about them. Even though they often take us out to dinner and pick up the tab, I am not up to having them stay with us.
I hate to lose their friendship, but I cannot take another one of their visits. If I tell them they cannot stay, they are going to be very offended. -- HURTING AND SOCIABLE IN FLORIDA
DEAR HURTING: The next time the visitors call to tell you they're coming, your husband should say: "Wonderful! We're looking forward to seeing you. Now give me your credit card number because I'm making motel reservations for you. My wife's doctor has said she's not up to entertaining houseguests this year, but you're such good friends I know you'll understand."
Their response will tell you both how strong that friendship is from their perspective. I hope they don't cancel their annual visit, but don't feel guilty if they do.
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