DEAR ABBY: My husband and I own a small tennis supply shop. "Jane," a 16-year-old high school student, works part time for us. Although I am 30, Jane and I have been like sisters. She is a beautiful, responsible young lady, but she has a quick temper. An incident two weeks ago has now strained our relationship.
Jane and I were closing the shop one evening when a man came into the store, flashed a gun and demanded our money. He took us into the back room, produced a roll of duct tape and cords, told us to lie face down and said he wouldn't hurt us. Jane suddenly wheeled around and clipped him in the jaw. Hard! The man was at least 6 feet tall, easily half a foot taller than either of us and looked ready to pummel her.
I stepped between them and told him to just tie us up and leave, at which point he obliged. We were then thoroughly taped, gagged and hogtied with the cords. Despite our valiant efforts neither of us could get loose. My husband came looking for me about two hours later and found us still tightly bound.
Since that evening, Jane has been angry. She believes we could have fought him off, although I think she's a little embarrassed about being tied up. I know he would have clobbered us both at the very least, and I feel I did the right thing. What do you think, and how can I restore the relationship between Jane and me? I still feel ... BOUND AND GAGGED IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR BOUND AND GAGGED: Jane has displaced her righteous anger toward the armed robber onto you. She took a terrible risk by striking out at someone who was holding a gun on the both of you. It could have provoked a tragedy.
Because you still feel "bound and gagged," you could benefit from counseling with a therapist who specializes in post-traumatic stress. And while you're at it, take Jane with you. She needs to talk and refocus her anger where it belongs. And you need to put this unfortunate incident behind you.
P.S. Since you now know from experience that you are vulnerable, please consider installing a silent alarm in your store.
DEAR ABBY: I am an average-looking girl. I'm not in the popular group. I used to let a classmate, "Sean," copy my homework because I'm nice and sometimes give too much.
Then one day, in the middle of class, he asked me out. He could have asked me before or after class, or during lunch, but he did it in the one class full of popular people. The entire class hushed, and his best friend was beside him.
I turned him down because he's popular and my parents wouldn't let me date. I didn't trust him because he's popular and I'm an average girl. I like him, but I was afraid it was some kind of trick -- or even a bet. Should I have given him a chance, even though he's a popular boy? -- SECOND THOUGHTS IN FLORIDA
DEAR SECOND THOUGHTS: Everyone deserves a chance, even a popular boy. However, since your parents feel you are not ready to date, you did the right thing by saying no because your parents wouldn't have allowed you to go anyway.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600