DEAR ABBY: "Hayley" is one of the few good friends I have at college. We take a class together. It's in a building across campus, so I drive. I always contact Hayley to see if she wants me to take her. (She typically does.) Because the class requires physical activity, we dress in appropriate clothing.
When I pick Hayley up, I am already dressed and ready to go. The problem is, she isn't. She is either eating or on her computer when I arrive. Once I come in, she begins to get ready. This has made us late for class several times. It has reached the point that I have to arrive earlier and earlier to get her to be on time.
I understand that I am more organized than she is, but it grates on my nerves. I am the one giving her a ride, and she causes us both to be late. I think she should be ready to leave when I get there. I know she has a busy schedule, but this is driving me crazy. I care about Hayley dearly, and I don't want to hurt her feelings. Should I say something to her? -- CAMPUS CLOCK-WATCHER
DEAR CLOCK-WATCHER: Yes, absolutely, because Hayley isn't a mind reader and if you haven't spoken up, she may be under the impression that you don't mind. Tell your friend you are no longer willing to be late to class, you expect her to be ready to leave at the time you get there, and if she isn't, you will leave without her. THEN FOLLOW THROUGH. I predict Hayley won't be late after that.
DEAR ABBY: I am a single man living in Florida. Without being invited, my sister called to inform me that she and her husband would be coming to visit me over the Christmas/New Year holiday. She said they planned to stay "a month or so" to escape the harsh northern winter. Caught off guard, I said I'd love to have them come for a week or 10 days, but I didn't want them to move in with me. At that point, she became miffed and said not to worry about it -- she and my brother-in-law would visit her son in Las Vegas instead.
Now I'm wondering if I was rude. I don't want them planting themselves in my home for months on end, but I don't want to destroy our relationship either. I love them both, but I have a life of my own. Did I make a mistake, or is it normal for relatives to visit for months? -- CONFOUNDED IN FLORIDA
DEAR CONFOUNDED: You did not make a mistake, and it is not "normal" for people to invite themselves to be houseguests as your sister did. Her attitude was presumptuous. Your reaction was honest. What she proposed was an imposition. If defending your privacy "destroys" your relationship, your sibling bond wasn't strong to begin with. Frankly, I think your sister had a lot of nerve, and her son has my sympathy because it's going to be a long winter in Las Vegas.
DEAR ABBY: I am in my 70s, and I honestly do not know how to respond when people ask me, "How are you?" I have had many health problems in the last few years, and I don't think anyone really wants to hear about them. -- I'M JUST SAYIN'
DEAR JUST SAYIN': If you have any reason to think that the person asking the question really doesn't care how you are, then spare him or her an organ recital. Convey the expected response, which is, "I'm fine -- how are you?"
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