DEAR ABBY: I am 24, and after four years of dating have recently become engaged to "Zack." We are very much in love, and quite frankly, until lately I never could have imagined myself with anyone else.
Last week, one of my co-workers -- I'll call him Keith -- confessed to me that he's developed a crush on me -- and the more I think about it, the more I feel a mutual attraction. Keith has been a good friend over the years. We work out together on a regular basis in the company gym and have shared many lunches. Abby, I am confused. I find myself thinking about Keith more than my fiance.
Keith has always been easy to talk to. I wish Zack and I could have the conversations I'm able to share with Keith.
The last thing I want to do is wreck my engagement. How can I stop this confusion and once again focus on my relationship with my fiance? Help! -- S.O.S. ASAP IN THE SUNSHINE STATE
DEAR S.O.S.: Let's analyze this situation. Why did Keith wait until you were engaged to Zack before declaring his feelings? Could it be that once you were "taken" you became safe -- and not a threat to his freedom? Many men find women who are married, engaged, going steady, etc., easier to talk to and even more attractive than those who are available.
Do not allow yourself to be distracted from a relationship that has worked for four years. Limit your workouts with Keith and put your energy into developing better communication with Zack.
DEAR ABBY: For more than a year, I have been a live-in caregiver for a sweet 94-year-old lady I'll call Ethel. For the most part, Ethel has enjoyed good health. We have a lot of fun together.
Last week, when we went on our weekly outing to the beauty shop and lunch, I noticed how loud her voice was in the restaurant. She attracted the stares of several diners. Ethel has also begun chewing with her mouth open, completely unaware of how she appears.
I want to let her know that she isn't acting like the well-mannered lady she's been in the past, but I don't know how to tell her without hurting her feelings. Please give me some advice on how to broach the subject. There is only one restaurant in our small town, and Ethel dearly loves our weekly meal there. Thanks, Abby. -- EMBARRASSED IN NEW MEXICO
DEAR EMBARRASSED: Tell Ethel what you have observed about her hearing loss and schedule a visit with her doctor. She needs a referral to have her hearing checked. While you're there, mention to the doctor the change in her table manners. Any abrupt change in the behavior of a person is something his or her physician should know about.
Please don't be reticent or embarrassed. You are her caregiver, and it is your obligation to inform her physicians what you observe.
DEAR ABBY: I have a wedding etiquette question. Twice within the last month, I've been invited to a bridal shower without receiving an invitation to the wedding.
I have witnessed a social blunder or two in my day, but this takes the cake. Are you with me on this, Abby? -- DISGUSTED IN SOUTH CAROLINA
DEAR DISGUSTED: To invite someone to a bridal shower who will not be invited to the wedding is a breach of etiquette. However, before becoming angry about it, please consider that this was ignorance on the part of the couple or the families.
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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