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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I am a woman in my early 20s. I have an uncle in his late 30s who keeps asking me invasive questions about my relationship status. Every time I see "Uncle Roger" at family gatherings he asks if I have a boyfriend yet, why I'm not seeing anyone or what I'm doing single. He assumes it's because I don't want to put up with the boyfriend drama.

Uncle Roger makes me feel bad about not being interested in a relationship or dating at the moment. I have told him to back off, without success. He just laughs it off and then the questions continue. Yet, this man has never been in any stable relationship himself.

Is there something wrong with me because I haven't met the right person? Am I supposed to force relationships to happen? What can I say to Uncle Roger to make him stop? -- BEYOND ANNOYED IN OAKLAND, CALIF.

DEAR BEYOND ANNOYED: Uncle Roger may think he's being funny by relentlessly asking why you're not involved with anyone. Because you have asked him to stop and he presses on, you have two choices: Avoid and ignore him, or turn the tables.

When he asks you about your love life, instead of becoming defensive, answer his question with a question: "Why aren't you involved with anyone, Uncle Roger? Why are you still single at your age? Can't you find anyone who'll say yes?" And be sure to laugh right back at him. As long as you let him know he's getting to you, he will continue. Sometimes the best defense is a strong offense.

DEAR ABBY: My dad died recently. He and Mom were married 60 years. Apparently, Mom hid her anger at him well, because she now says she couldn't stand him.

None of us kids can bring up any stories or memories about Dad because Mom will say things like, "He was a narcissist," or "He was no fun," etc. We remember him as a great provider and a decent, beloved person.

Do you have any suggestions on how we can approach the subject with my mother? It's so hurtful that we can't talk about our father anymore now that she feels "free" and happy. -- MISSING OUR DAD

DEAR MISSING: Yes. Tell your mother that you and your siblings prefer to remember your father as the decent, beloved, great provider he was to all of you. Tell her that you're glad she's "free" and "happy," but the comments she's making are unwelcome. And if she continues to make them, walk away or share your loving memories of your father when she's not present.

DEAR ABBY: I'm a 27-year-old single woman. I have been hanging out with a guy ("Connor") for a few months. I enjoy his company, but I don't have more than platonic feelings for him.

I'm reading a book that says women my age are too picky and need to compromise. My question is, how long should I wait until I feel something more or that compromising just won't work with this one?

Am I too picky or do I need to realize I won't be feeling anything more? -- SINGLE AND CONFUSED IN MINNESOTA

DEAR CONFUSED: If you have nothing more than platonic feelings for Connor after seeing him for a few months, those feelings are not likely to change because the chemistry just isn't there. What you need to do is be more selective about the authors whose books you choose, because someone who would advise women sight unseen that they're "too picky" is speaking in dangerous generalities. Caveat emptor.

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby -- Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)