Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Sister Looking to Hook Up Needs to Wise Up First

DEAR ABBY: I recently had a conversation with my married sister that left me speechless. While making plans to visit me for a few days, she asked if I could "hook her up" with any guys. I was shocked. Not only was it awkward, it left me feeling disgusted.

If a person is unhappy in his or her marriage, shouldn't the marriage be ended before looking for someone else? (By the way, my brother-in-law thinks they have a great marriage.)

A few days later, my sister informed me that her "boyfriend" had broken things off with her. I am dumbfounded! My sister will be coming to spend some time with me soon, and I'm sure this subject is bound to come up again. How do I handle a situation I find so offensive? -- DUMBSTRUCK DOWN SOUTH

DEAR DUMBSTRUCK: Handle it by telling your sister exactly what you have written to me. That should get the message across succinctly.

DEAR ABBY: I'm a 15-year-old girl with five younger siblings. It's tough to get along with everyone, but my 8-year-old sister, "Annie," is especially difficult. She doesn't get along with anyone.

Annie steals constantly. This has been going on since she could walk. She steals jewelry, makeup, toys, books and money. The only way to get these things back is by searching her room. Our relatives say she'll grow out of this, but it happens every day. She destroys and breaks the things she steals -- including projects and homework.

My parents have tried everything -- taking her things, grounding her, taking away privileges -- yet Annie doesn't stop. She lies and becomes frantic, and I'm worried something is wrong. None of us have ever behaved like her. What should we do? -- WORRIED SISTER IN NEW JERSEY

DEAR WORRIED SISTER: The behavior you have described could be symptoms of a serious emotional disturbance. It won't be corrected until your parents understand what's driving your sister to steal and lie. If Annie hasn't already been evaluated by her pediatrician and a mental health professional, it should be done as soon as possible. Please show this to your parents.

DEAR ABBY: I recently agreed to support my neighbor as she participated in a charity walk for breast cancer. Through a mutual friend I found out that my neighbor rode a free bus for a portion of the 13.1-mile walk. She has since tried to collect the "donation." I have politely declined to pay, due to the circumstances. I feel I am justified since the donation was predicated on her completion of the walk. What do you think? -- STICKLER IN COLORADO

DEAR STICKLER: Is it possible that your neighbor rode the bus a portion of the way because she was unable to make it through the 13.1-mile walk? For heaven's sake, it's not as if she would be pocketing the money. Give her the donation in the form of a check made out to the charity. It's for a worthy cause -- and tax-deductible.

DEAR READERS: Today is Administrative Professionals Day, the day we pause to acknowledge and thank the diligent, caring, hardworking men and women whose efforts make the workplace function smoothly and efficiently for their employers. Orchids to all of you. Speaking as one lucky employer, I know I am truly blessed. -- XXX ABBY

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)