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by Abigail Van Buren

Big Spender's Big Mouth Makes Her Friend Cringe

DEAR ABBY: For the life of me, I cannot understand why being a single person seems to make some people uncomfortable. Occasionally, I really do want to do something by myself. If I say, "One for dinner," why would someone ask, "Are you by yourself?" If I purchase one ticket for a show, why would someone try to find "someone nice" for me to sit next to?

I am not a rude person, but this happens often. I am astonished at the number of times I am made to feel that I must provide some sort of explanation. Does this happen to single men as well as to women? All I want is to be treated with respect and not be made to feel as though I don't belong. Is there something I can say in these situations, or must I simply tolerate it? -- SINGLE DINER IN HOUSTON

DEAR SINGLE DINER: The people who say these things and make these offers are well-meaning, and yes, it does happen to single men, too. The way to handle it is to smile sweetly and reply, "Thank you, but that won't be necessary."