DEAR ABBY: In the past, I made several seriously awful decisions about guys. I also spent two years in high school off and on with a young man who only made my life dramatic and exhausting. Now that I'm a freshman in college, I have encountered several guys I'd love to have a relationship with, but I feel unworthy.
Because of my bad decisions and the fact that I knew these guys before they attended school with me here, I'm worried my past will catch up with me and they'll think I'm still the way I was back then. I have been working on cleaning up my language, and I have sworn off drugs and alcohol trying to make myself more appealing.
Some of my friends have told me I shouldn't have to change who I am for "some guy." Are they right? What should I do to make a connection with one of these young men? -- UNDESERVING IN IDAHO
DEAR UNDESERVING: If these friends are implying that it's all right to drink, use drugs, use foul language and do things with guys that you're ashamed of later, then it's time to change friends.
I believe in the philosophy of constant self-improvement. When you improve yourself to the point that you are proud of yourself, you will attract men who have more to offer than the ones you were involved with in high school.
DEAR ABBY: When I was growing up, manners were taught at home, but now it seems etiquette has been placed on the back burner. As an elementary school teacher, I try to emphasize the importance of good manners, and I'm amazed and disappointed at the lack of interest from the parents of my students. They don't seem to appreciate the importance of a "Thank you," "Yes, Ma'am," "No, Sir," etc.
I am frustrated by the lack of instruction my students receive at home and at the poor manners shown by others in our community. Have you any ideas on how to bring this much-needed skill back to the forefront? -- DOING MY BEST IN AMARILLO
DEAR DOING YOUR BEST: You have described parents who are not doing their jobs, or who were never taught basic good manners themselves. How sad for the children.
Years ago, parents taught children the "magic" of the words "please" and "thank you" in how their requests were received. Because your students haven't been so fortunate, you are right to deliver that life lesson to them in the classroom. After spending a year with you, they will have it down pat. As for their parents, face it -- it's too late.
DEAR ABBY: A good friend has asked me to be a groomsman in his wedding. The problem is, the bachelor party will be in Las Vegas. Ordinarily that wouldn't be an issue, but there is no date set yet for the party. The wedding is in September, so I assume the bachelor party will be in August.
I recently bought an engagement ring for my girlfriend, and I also am hosting my brother's bachelor party in late August. I honestly can't afford a trip to Vegas at this time, especially with short notice. What's the proper protocol? Do I find a way to come up with the money? How do I let my friend know I can't make it without getting him upset? -- FULL CALENDAR IN PHILLY
DEAR FULL CALENDAR: The proper protocol is to tell your friend ASAP that you cannot attend the bachelor party for the valid reasons you shared with me. You not only do not have the money to make the trip, but you also have a prior family commitment. Your friend may be disappointed, but if he becomes upset, that's his problem, so please do not make it yours.
P.S. If he's truly a friend he'll understand.
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