DEAR ABBY: I recently ran into "Grace," who was a dear friend back in elementary school. Back then my parents helped her mother flee and divorce her abusive husband. At age 12 we lost touch because Grace moved to another school and joined a "bad crowd."
Eighteen years later I was happy to see her again, and gave her my phone number. I have the feeling something is a bit "off" about Grace now. She has called me repeatedly and in her messages she sounds nervous and stumbles over her words. When I called her back, she told me she was in a serious car accident nine years ago and hasn't held a job since. The entire conversation was strange, and my gut is telling me Grace has a drug problem.
She has asked me to lunch to "catch up." I'm a stay-at-home mom and not comfortable meeting her in person, especially with my kids. I feel guilty for not wanting to see someone I was so close to when I was young, and for assuming she has a drug problem.
Am I wrong in making this assumption? Should I stop returning her calls and ignore her, or should I see her to make a determination? -- ALL GROWN UP IN VEGAS
DEAR ALL GROWN UP: You are wrong to prejudge the woman. While it's possible Grace has a drug problem, it is also possible that the car accident left her with an injury that has affected her speech. See her without your children and make a determination.
If she is impaired because of injury, would that make a difference in how you feel about her? Your lives have gone in different directions. She appears to be needy. With your responsibilities as a parent, how much time and effort would you be able to devote to her? Only you can answer these questions. But to take the coward's way out and ignore her would be cruel.
DEAR ABBY: I am a 40-year-old single mom who is just getting back into the dating scene after being divorced for a year and a half. There is a guy, "Hank," I'm interested in getting to know better. We both have kids who go to the same high school. We have gone to several out-of-town football games with our kids and have texted each other often.
What's bothering me is Hank has never asked me on a one-on-one date. Should I ask him, or should I wait for him to make the first move? I don't want to appear desperate, but I really would like to get closer. -- STEPPING BACK INTO THE SCENE
DEAR STEPPING BACK: I wish you had given me a little more information about Hank -- such as why he's raising his children alone and for how long, and whether he dates at all. However, I don't think it would be overly aggressive to say (casually) to him, "You know, we never get a chance to talk one-on-one, and I'd like to get to know you better. Why don't we have dinner one night?" It's not an obvious proposition, and if he's at all interested he'll agree.
DEAR READERS: To those of you living where daylight saving time is observed, I offer this gentle reminder: Don't forget to turn your clocks forward one hour at bedtime tonight. Daylight saving time begins at 2 a.m. tomorrow, and you know what that means -- spring is on the way!
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