DEAR ABBY: I am a 20-year-old student who has lived in an apartment with my current roommate, "Karen," for 18 months. We get along well.
For the past nine months, Karen has been dating a man who has begun spending almost every night in our apartment. So far, I have tolerated the situation because they're not disruptive.
I recently visited Karen's boyfriend's apartment for the first time. Abby, no wonder he's here every night. I thought I was touring a vacant apartment. His kitchen has absolutely nothing in it, and the living room is mostly unfurnished and totally unlit. In addition, he has no phone or Internet service.
Since then, I haven't been able to get it off my mind. I don't want to ruin what is otherwise a good situation, but how do I put my mind at ease? I can't put my finger on what's bothering me, but it doesn't "feel" right. -- STEAMED IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
DEAR STEAMED: You have described a young bachelor who doesn't cook, who probably has eaten most of his meals "out," and who has not developed a strong nesting instinct, either. (He could also not have much money.) But keep your eyes and ears open, and if anything else about your roommate's boyfriend bothers you, mention it to her.
DEAR ABBY: In the past you have printed letters from readers describing acts of kindness for others. Not long ago, my husband (who is in the military) and I went out to dinner after our first obstetric appointment. We had a lovely time; our server was also a pregnant Army wife and we chatted about due dates, deployments, our husbands' jobs, etc.
At the end of the meal no check was delivered to our table. Our server explained that the couple behind us had paid for it as a way to say thank you for my husband's service and congratulations on the baby. We were very touched. I wish they hadn't left before we did so we could have thanked them.
My husband and I stopped at the market before going home. A man approached us and asked if we had any spare change because his kids were hungry and payday was a few days off. Because someone had done something nice for us that night, I decided to pay it forward and help him out -- so I gave him all the money I had in my purse.
Someone touched our lives in a positive way, and I'm so glad we could help someone in return. I hope this letter inspires someone else to do the same. -- ARMY WIFE AT FORT BLISS, TEXAS
DEAR ARMY WIFE: So do I. And to that I'd like to add that helping others does not necessarily have to involve giving money. It can be as simple as approaching members of the military and thanking them for their service or volunteering time to work in a shelter or a food program to help the destitute.
DEAR ABBY: I was in a major department store, carrying a designer handbag, when a woman I didn't know approached me and asked if my bag was real or a knockoff. I was at a loss for words. The rudeness of that woman floored me.
I was always taught to be polite and not ask nosy questions. How would you have handled it? -- OFFENDED IN ARKANSAS
DEAR OFFENDED: If the handbag was genuine, I would have told the woman it was. And if it wasn't, I would have told her where to find one like it.
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-sized, 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 in the price.)