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by Abigail Van Buren

9/11 Anniversary Offers Us Chance to Reflect on Sacrifice

DEAR ABBY: I am a 15-year-old girl from a financially secure family. My best friend, "Audrey," is in the opposite situation. Her parents are divorced. Her mother works full time to support the family.

I used to get annoyed at Audrey when she'd hesitate after I'd suggest we do something fun together. She finally admitted she didn't have the money. I feel awful because money has never been a problem for me, and I thought it was not a problem for any of my friends.

I love being with Audrey. I don't want her financial situation to put a damper on our friendship. I am more than willing to pay for things like admissions to amusement parks, movies and other events -- and even buy her clothes when we go shopping together. The problem is, she is very sensitive about money. She never takes me up on my offers.

How do I get to do fun things with Audrey without making her feel she is accepting charity? -- NOT A PRINCESS IN PASADENA, CALIF.

DEAR NOT A PRINCESS: Stop offering to buy her clothes. Do offer to do things with her that don't cost a lot of money -- listen to music, rent videos, exercise, or do homework together. Include her in some group activities (movies or amusement parks), but always let her reciprocate in some way. Respect her decisions, and remember that the burden of gratitude can sometimes hang very heavy, so try to keep a balance.