Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I rent my own apartment and my family lives an hour's drive away. My boyfriend of one year, "Mac," lives about 10 minutes from me and spends the night a few times a week and vice-versa.

I got the flu last month and it developed into bronchitis. I was so sick I could barely drag myself out of bed. I asked Mac to come over and take care of me and he said, "No, I don't want to get sick. I'll come by when you're better."

Abby, if someone cares about you, don't you think he should help out -- maybe make some soup, give you water at your bedside and just be there in general? If Mac got sick like that, I would go over and take care of him. But he wasn't willing to do the same. He said he doesn't feel it is "his job."

I am upset by this. Is it an indication of how he would be if we got married? -- IN SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH

DEAR IN SICKNESS: Yup. It appears Mac isn't the nurturing kind. However, if he has everything else you're looking for in a man, this needn't be a deal breaker. Instead of expecting him to intuit what you need, try telling him what you want. Example: "Send some soup over." "Please empty the trash." "Call an ambulance." You get the idea. If that doesn't do the trick, then scratch Mac.

DEAR ABBY: One of my bosses insists on using his speakerphone for conversations -- business and personal -- with his office door wide open. He speaks loudly, and both sides of the conversation can be clearly heard throughout the office. He also walks through the hallways with his cell on speakerphone.

Everyone who works here finds his behavior annoying and boorish. No one says anything, and he doesn't get the message when a chorus of doors slam shut each time he begins one of these calls or walks by with his cell phone blasting. Any ideas on how to address this issue? -- UNWILLING THIRD PARTY IN THE NORTHWEST

DEAR UNWILLING: Is no one, including your boss's assistant, close enough to him to tell him that his loud phone conversations are distracting his employees and colleagues and offer to shut his door for him so he can have privacy? Most employers would prefer their workers and colleagues operate at maximum capacity, particularly in this economy.

DEAR ABBY: Please settle a dispute between my wife and me. One of her co-workers, "Cassie," is eight months pregnant and also overweight. My wife saw her and said, "Wow, you've gotten as big as a house!"

Cassie told her she was hurt by the comment. In my wife's opinion, what she said is not uncommon when said to a pregnant woman and she thinks Cassie was overly sensitive. I believe the comment was inappropriate. What do you think? -- NEEDS A MEDIATOR, GAINESVILLE, FLA.

DEAR NEEDS A MEDIATOR: I agree with you. No one -- pregnant or not -- wants to be told she resembles an orca, and your wife should have kept her observation to herself.

To order "How to Write Letters for All Occasions," send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)