DEAR ABBY: We have been friends with "The Bickersons" for quite some time. They never have a kind word to say to each other. Mr. B. now has a terminal illness, and you would think they'd be kinder to each other at a time like this. On the contrary, their fights are more groundless and vicious than ever. It is becoming increasingly difficult to be around them. This is when they need friends more than ever, but they're driving everyone away! What can we do? -- LOVE IS ALL WE NEED
DEAR LOVE: While you might imagine that when a spouse has a terminal illness it would bring the couple closer together, that is not always the case. Mr. B. may be frightened, angry, in pain and taking it out on his wife. Mrs. B. may be furious at her husband for being sick and dependent, and requiring her to have gone from being a wife to a caregiver. Also, they both may be settling old scores.
Because it's painful to watch what's going on but you want to be supportive, consider socializing with them separately. They may appreciate the time they get to spend away from each other.
DEAR ABBY: When does dieting become rude? I have always enjoyed inviting friends and family over for dinner. But lately it seems everyone is on some kind of diet and "can't eat that."
I fix healthy meals -- free of fats, sugars and salt. If someone has a dietary restriction or wants to pass on dessert, I am fine with that, of course. I don't like it, though, when my carefully prepared meals turn into leftovers or get thrown away off someone's plate.
Why would anyone accept a dinner invitation and then turn into a picky guest? Would eating an average serving of a good meal once a week blow someone's diet? -- LOST THE JOY OF COOKING
DEAR LOST THE JOY: I'll answer your questions in reverse order. Eating an "average serving of a good meal" once a week could blow someone's diet, depending on the kind of diet the person is on. And the reason someone who is on a severely restricted diet would accept a dinner invitation on a weekly basis might be because he or she wants to see you, wants to see some of the other guests or doesn't want to be left out. But for a conclusive answer, you need to query the dieter.
DEAR ABBY: My mother and I are very close, and I love her very much, but I have a problem. Mom goes on every single field trip with my class. There have even been times when she was the only parent in attendance. The teachers are grateful for her, but it's becoming embarrassing. I'm a freshman in a private high school, and I want to start doing things more independently. What's the best way to tell Mom before my next trip that I prefer she not go without hurting her feelings? -- I'M A BIG GIRL NOW
DEAR BIG GIRL: Talk to your mother at a time when you are both calm. She needs to understand that her hovering is making you self-conscious when you need some independence. However, keep in mind that she may be the only parent who is volunteering and has the time to assist in the field trips -- which is why the teachers are grateful. What I'm trying to convey is how important it is for you and your mother to communicate honestly with each other.
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