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by Abigail Van Buren

Photos Posted Online Irk Woman Preferring Privacy

DEAR ABBY: I am a private person by nature and avoid doing a lot of posting on the Internet because of it. My problem is a friend I'll call "Maria," who constantly posts pictures of our outings with friends on her Web site for everyone to see.

The photos themselves are not embarrassing, I just prefer not having my face plastered all over the Internet. Most recently, Maria posted photographs from my wedding without asking me, and it really bothered me. I understand that she is an outgoing person who enjoys sharing details of her life, but I feel like my privacy has been invaded.

I am not the only person in our group that feels this way. How do we ask her to stop posting these images without offending her? -- OVEREXPOSED IN SAN FRANCISCO

DEAR OVEREXPOSED: You do it by telling Maria -- with a smile -- that posting your pictures on her Web site makes you uncomfortable and to please stop it.

If you don't have the courage to confront her one-on-one, then do it as a group. Should Maria "forget" and continue posting pictures you'd rather not appear online, remember to duck when she whips out her camera.

DEAR ABBY: Would you mind settling a debate? My friend Tony was born in New York. His parents moved the family to Florida when he was 6.

Tony's wife was born and raised in New York, and he says he is "from New York." She disagrees and tells him he is from Florida because he was raised there.

When someone asks, "Where are you from?" (geographically), what is the correct response? -- BORN IN JERSEY, RAISED IN FLORIDA

DEAR BORN/RAISED: What often prompts that question is a regional or a foreign accent, and some people become defensive when asked where they are from. In states like Florida, Arizona, Nevada and California the question often comes up because so many residents have moved from somewhere else.

When Tony is asked, it might be more accurate to respond, "I was born in New York and raised in Florida," and his wife should not need to correct him. (Dear Abby rule for a successful marriage: Don't start arguments over things that are inconsequential.)

DEAR ABBY: I am married for the second time and have added two boys to my three. My stepsons are great, but I do have one challenge. Their mother can sometimes be "excessive." She buys them expensive gifts for no reason, allows them to drink sugary soft drinks, etc. This is very different from how I parent my sons.

Yesterday, the younger one was showing us his wiggly tooth (his first) and said he would be taking it to his mom's house because she leaves $20 while we only give $1! So far, I have taken the grin-and-bear-it route. I'm curious as to your take on the situation. -- TOOTH FAIRY IN GAITHERSBURG, MD.

DEAR TOOTH FAIRY: Your husband's ex may feel guilty about the divorce and be using gifts to make it up to her boys, or she may be trying to one-up you. It is also possible that this is the way her mother raised her -- in a household where $20 for a lost tooth was not unusual and sugary soft drinks were a staple. So keep smiling and try not to let it get to you.

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