DEAR ABBY: I just lost my 15-year-old sister to bullying and the school here is not doing anything about it. There have been a number of suicides due to this behavior. I want schools to realize they need to take action before someone else gets hurt.
Bullying isn't a harmless prank and it should be taken seriously. I have heard of a bullying law in some schools, but it needs to be in all schools. I should not have to bury my sister at such a young age.
Abby, can you please get a message out to schools and their students about bullying? Thank you. -- GRIEF-STRICKEN SISTER IN MICHIGAN
DEAR GRIEF-STRICKEN SISTER: Please accept my deepest sympathy not only for the untimely loss of your sister, but also the tragic circumstances surrounding her death. Although bullying is something that has gone on for generations, in recent years school boards have only begun to realize what a serious and pervasive problem it truly is and have instituted zero tolerance policies.
In many schools where student suicides have occurred, the administration has provided grief counseling and programs to sensitize students and faculty in order to prevent it from happening. If that isn't being done in your community, the parents should be very worried.
DEAR ABBY: What do you say to a person who never stops talking? A friend does it, and I don't want to hurt her feelings. It has reached the point where I avoid her because her nonstop babbling irritates me. I have made clear to her I don't use my phone much and prefer e-mail, but it hasn't stopped her from calling anyway -- sometimes late at night. I let the machine pick up, but my sleep is still interrupted and, once again, I am irritated.
Abby, this woman has a heart of gold. She is generous and sweet, but her incessant chatter diminishes any good feelings I have for her. Even when we're eating in a restaurant, she never stops to come up for air. How can I politely let her know her never-ending blather is getting on my nerves? -- CAN'T GET A WORD IN, IN NORTH CAROLINA
DEAR CAN'T GET A WORD IN: Your friend is a compulsive talker. She may do it out of insecurity, or because the sound of silence makes her uncomfortable. She may do it because she thinks she's entertaining. But hogging the conversation is rude. And calling someone in the late evening, after being told that the person does not want calls after a certain hour, is also rude. Much as you might like to, I doubt anything you say politely will change her. So accept her, warts and all, or move on.
DEAR ABBY: When a man meets a woman wearing a low-cut dress or blouse, is it rude to momentarily glance down (not stare) at her cleavage? Most men find this a natural, unavoidable impulse. -- DOIN' WHAT COMES NATURALLY
DEAR DOIN': It may be a "natural, unavoidable impulse," but gentlemen have learned to control their impulses. And that's what I recommend you do -- unless you want to offend the woman you're with or the woman you're meeting. I'm surprised you haven't heard the phrase, "My eyes are up here."
DEAR READERS: From the bottom of my heart, I wish all of you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2011. And please, if you will be driving tonight, don't drink; and if you're drinking tonight, don't drive. Stay safe, everyone! -- Love, ABBY
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)