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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: My friend, "Steven," and I have known each other 10 years. He and I have seen each other through many good times, and a few bad ones.

Most recently, Steven was in a relationship with a woman who couldn't stand the thought of his having female friends. So, for the last 18 months, the only contact I have had with him was via e-mail -- and that was very seldom.

Steven recently e-mailed me saying he had broken up with this insecure woman. He expressed how sorry he was for the limited contact, and said he would like for us to rebuild our friendship. I'm thrilled to finally have my friend back, but I also feel somewhat resentful toward him for his having discarded me.

Abby, I missed Steven. But how can I be his pal again when I am still hurt by his blatant disregard for our friendship and my feelings over the past year and a half? -- UNCERTAIN IN LONG BEACH

DEAR UNCERTAIN: The surest way to put this unhappy chapter in your relationship behind you would be to tell your friend how hurt you were, how abandoned you felt, talk it through and listen to what he has to say. Frankly, no one can blame you for feeling as you do. You were cut off through no fault of your own. And only time will tell if Steven has learned his lesson, so it won't happen again.

DEAR ABBY: For the last seven months I have been planning a Florida vacation with two of my girlfriends. However, one of them, "Heather," has just announced that she will be having foot surgery before we leave. She will be in a cast and able to walk only with the use of crutches. I hoped that Heather would cancel, but she's still planning to come anyway.

Abby, I don't want to take care of her on my only vacation. Am I being selfish? Should we let her come and just sit in the condo while we go out to explore? I'm afraid our friendship will suffer. What should I do? -- VACATION-BOUND IN THE NORTHWEST

DEAR VACATION-BOUND: True friends can level with each other. Talk to Heather now and explain your concerns, including your fear that she will be stuck in the condo while you and your other friend will be out and about. Ask if she has thought this through.

You might be surprised to find that she'll be perfectly happy sitting in the condo, by a swimming pool or on the beach. If she takes the trip as planned, do your exploring and enjoy yourself. Heather can enjoy your adventures vicariously, as well as the experience of being "away," even if it's not the vacation she originally envisioned.

DEAR ABBY: I am a 13-year-old girl with my own set of problems. I had a horrible childhood, but I love to read.

I read a series of novels that I grew very fond of, but in the last book the protagonist died. I cried. Can you tell me why I'm so attached? -- TEEN READER

DEAR READER: Books can be wonderfully entertaining and informative, and they can also be an escape from reality. It's possible that you spent so much time in the "world" the author created that the protagonist became like a good friend. You became so emotionally invested that you felt a sense of loss when the character was no more. It's no different than becoming emotional watching a sad movie. It means the author did a good job.

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 $6 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby -- Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

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