DEAR ABBY: I am a well-educated, confident, attractive woman in my mid-30s. My job is in business development. My question is, Do I need to be a social drinker in order to be successful? A male friend of mine often harps on how I make the other drinkers uncomfortable, and how people stay out late, drinking and discussing business deals until 3 or 4 in the morning. He says I must learn to have a drink or two -- otherwise I won't be successful in getting any deals.
I never criticize others who drink, and I quietly order fruit juice when others are drinking. No one beside this friend even notices it. But he often says loudly to the server that they should find some juice for me since I don't drink. I have tried to learn to drink, but frankly, I don't enjoy it.
Also, I have seen my friend and some of the other men indulge in somewhat loose behavior as they keep having more drinks. I think I'd be wise to refrain from drinking. My friend says because I am originally from another country, that I am "different." His remarks are wearing me down, as he recently has started accusing me of not being good company.
Please tell me your thoughts on this. He is my best friend, but also has a temper. -- DESPERATELY NEEDING ADVICE IN MANHATTAN
DEAR DESPERATE: For a "best friend," this man is behaving peculiarly. "Best friends" do not announce during a business dinner that a colleague is "different." He appears to be someone who has a drinking problem, and is trying to coerce you into doing something that makes you uncomfortable so your sobriety won't make him feel guilty.
When someone accuses you of not being good company because you don't drink, it means he's looking for a drinking buddy. This man has more problems than you're equipped to deal with, and he won't help you advance your career. My advice is to distance yourself from him.
DEAR ABBY: My mother passed away four months ago. The night she died, a sibling of mine took her purse home and brought it back the next day with the checkbook and credit cards gone. I asked about them and was told they "took care of them."
Last week, I received a copy of mother's credit card statement in the mail. It had more than $2,500 in charges after she passed away. I know who did the charging, but I don't know how to approach that person. It was a sibling of mine. Please advise me, as the estate is now in probate. -- MOTHERLESS IN MISSOURI
DEAR MOTHERLESS: Please accept my sympathy for the loss of your mother, as well as the loss of your illusions about your sibling. I see no reason for you to confront the person who did the stealing, but you should definitely report it to the attorney who is handling your mother's probate.
DEAR ABBY: I am 35 years old and have been divorced for four years. Hypothetically speaking, if I decide to never remarry or if I remarry 20 years from now, what is my marital status between now and that time?
I consider myself single, not divorced. If I'm still single at the age of 55 -- or 80, for that matter -- I'd hate to refer to myself as "divorced," giving people the idea that I was divorced recently. -- IN A QUANDARY
DEAR IN A QUANDARY: You may consider yourself single and not divorced, but if you were married and divorced four years ago, you're divorced. If you're still single at 55 -- or 80, for that matter -- tell the questioner you were "married at one time but it was many years ago." That way you won't have to mention the word "divorce," and the person will get the correct message.
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 $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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