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by Abigail Van Buren

Son's Friends Need Quick Course in Common Courtesy

DEAR ABBY: I have absolutely had it with some of my son's friends, and his girlfriend is no better.

I take my son and his friends places. The friends get into the car and never address me at all. It is like I'm invisible.

When the girlfriend calls, she asks for my son, but never asks me how I am doing or even says, "Hello, Mrs. Jones."

What is this world coming to? My children are not like that. People tell me how personable they are, and that they greet other adults courteously and with respect.

I have reached the point where I don't want my son to hang around with these kids, and I want the girlfriend gone.

Oh, by the way, the son I am talking about is a sophomore in high school. Any suggestions? -- SICK OF DISRESPECTFUL TEENS

DEAR SICK: Yes. Take the bull by the horns. The next time you're at the wheel and one of your son's friends gets into the car, say, "Hello, 'Johnny.' How are you?" Ask questions about school, sports, his parents. Break the silence and lighten the atmosphere. You're the adult -- make the first move.

As to the girlfriend -- it's possible that she hasn't been taught telephone manners. So be pleasant, and keep it light -- but let her know that the way to a young man's heart is not only through his stomach, but can also be through his mother, and that one way to impress his mother is to slow down for a moment and say, "Hello, 'Mrs. Jones.' How are you? May I please speak to your son?"