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by Abigail Van Buren

Friend Resists Choosing Sides in Couple's Breakup

DEAR ABBY: My 3-year-old goddaughter, "Tammy," is one of the most important people in my life. So are her parents, "Sophie" and "Zack." I was friendly with them separately before they got together. As a couple, they selected me to be godmother. They have since split up.

Zack is understanding about my staying neutral and continuing to be friendly with him and his ex. But Sophie gets mad and won't talk to me for weeks if she hears I went to see Tammy on a weekend she's with her daddy.

Even though I am closer to Sophie, Zack is a great father and a good friend. I don't think it's fair that Sophie expects me to take her side. I feel their issues are theirs alone, and my main focus is that my goddaughter have my support regardless of which parent she happens to be with.

Am I doing something wrong? If not, how do I handle Sophie? -- HONORED IN OMAHA

DEAR HONORED: You are doing nothing wrong. However, viewed from Sophie's perspective, it may appear that you have "chosen" her ex over her. A way to handle this would be to tell Sophie that you are not visiting Tammy when she's with Zack because you prefer his company over Sophie's. It's that you want your goddaughter to have continuity, and if Sophie is upset with Zack, she shouldn't displace her anger onto you because it's not fair to you or her daughter. And further, if this continues, Sophie will drive a caring friend (you) away.

DEAR ABBY: In this age of electronic devices, how appropriate is it to take photos at the table in a restaurant? I suppose it depends on the establishment -- probably not a problem in a casual buffet environment.

My boyfriend and I like to go to fancy restaurants (on our own and with friends), and we enjoy taking pictures of each other, our friends and the food. How do we handle this? Do other patrons care how many times we "flash" our cameras? -- SNAP-HAPPY IN BLOOMINGTON, IND.

DEAR SNAP-HAPPY: When making reservations at an expensive restaurant, ask whether it would be disruptive to take pictures. While some diners might not object, I can think of several reasons why some would find it intrusive. Because some "foodies" enjoy snapping photos of their table and the various dishes as they're presented, it may be possible to be seated in a location where the flash will not be a nuisance. However, the restaurant staff should be warned in advance.

DEAR ABBY: I volunteer at a hospital and help with mail sorting for the patients. I know it is important for patients to receive their mail -- even if they are no longer being treated at the hospital.

Abby, please advise your readers that when they send Get Well cards, to always use the person's own name -- like, "Betty Jones" instead of "Mrs. John Jones." Also, when sending a card or note to someone in the hospital, to always put the patient's home address as the return address on the envelope -- not their own. If your readers do this, the person is sure to receive it, even after he or she has been discharged from the hospital. -- JUDY IN LORAIN, OHIO

DEAR JUDY: Thank you for two perfectly logical suggestions -- which I'm sure the majority of people don't always consider when they're sending their good wishes. Readers, take heed.

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