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by Abigail Van Buren

Friend Is in the Doghouse for Usurping Daughter's Name

DEAR ABBY: My best friend of 30 years, "Andrea," and her husband decided not to have children. They are happy with their dogs and cats.

She recently adopted a 10-year-old rescue dog and changed the dog's name to "Monique." Abby, Monique is my daughter's name! When I asked Andrea why she changed the dog's name, she said it is because no one in her family has that name. I am hurt that she would name her dog after my daughter, her godchild -- so much so that I no longer wish to speak to this woman. How do I get past this? -- MONIQUE'S MOM IN COLORADO

DEAR M.M.: I understand your feelings, but I hate to see a friendship of 30 years go down in flames because of one (albeit huge) lapse of judgment on Andrea's part. It appears she just loved the name. Avoid having your daughter and her dog in the same room at the same time, and you'll spare both of them from confusion. And remember, your Monique will have the name much longer than the dog will. This, too, shall pass.

DEAR ABBY: I have an old friend, "Erika," who, when we were working together, was my superior. My problem is Erika will, from time to time, ask me questions seeming not to know anything about the subject. However, as I begin explaining whatever it is, she'll then say something that indicates she really is well-versed in the matter and knows more about it than I do.

I end up feeling blindsided, stupid, and like I have been set up. Why does she do this? And how can I avoid falling into this trap? Erika seems so sincere when she asks a question. -- FALLING FOR IT IN DECATUR, ILL.

DEAR FALLING FOR IT: She may do it as a form of one-upmanship -- or "asking questions" may be her way of making conversation. Because it makes you uncomfortable, ask her why she does it and, while you're at it, tell her how it makes you feel. If Erika cares about your feelings, she'll stop trying to one-up you. And if she doesn't, accept that you will either have to keep your guard up when you're with her, or limit the time you spend with her.

DEAR ABBY: I don't cry at funerals. I am a Christian with a deep conviction that the deceased is in a better place.

I have been criticized for not crying. My sister-in-law chided me about it at my father-in-law's funeral. He had been sick and in constant pain for 15 years and died in his 70s. I didn't cry because he had lived a long and happy life, and had been finally released from chronic pain.

How do I answer these criticisms? I have given the reasons I have given you, but no one wants to accept that response. I'm tired of being told how I "should" show emotion at a funeral. Is what I feel or show really anyone's business but my own? -- STOIC IN COLUMBUS, OHIO

DEAR STOIC: No, it's not. And furthermore, funerals can be such wrenching events that sometimes emotions become mixed up and mourners -- rather than crying -- have been known to break into giggles and laughter. Because few people who have suffered a significant loss are at their best while they are grieving, please try to forgive these presumptuous individuals for their comments.

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