DEAR ABBY: I reluctantly signed onto Facebook at the urging of my siblings. The problem is, I am now receiving many replies from people I knew back in college and elsewhere saying how glad they are they have found me, how much they have missed me, and that they would like to catch up. It made me remember that I was very well-liked then, and how when I graduated from college with honors people said I had a bright future.
But now I am nowhere near what I used to be when those people knew me. My life has not been very productive or happy since I moved from the East Coast to California.
I am married to a wonderful man. We have no children, and I have had only sporadic employment over the past few years due to treatment for depression and alcoholism. I'm trying to get better, but it's hard.
Most of those who have written tell me about their children, grandchildren and the career progress they have made in their lives. I can't tell them any of that about myself. Please don't tell me to get counseling. I am. And don't tell me to go to AA meetings. I do. And don't tell me to take medication, because I'm doing that, too.
Just tell me what do I write to all those old friends who seem to have achieved many of the conventional things in life that I haven't. I don't want to say nothing, and I don't want to lie, but I also don't want to tell them the depressing truth, either. -- UNSURE OUT WEST
DEAR UNSURE: Crafting upbeat prose can be difficult when someone is as depressed as you appear to be. But you are getting the help you need and working to pull yourself out of it, and for that I applaud you.
Before composing your Facebook entry, take stock of the positive things you have going for you and make a list. You are married to a wonderful man, you haven't had to work over the past few years, but it hasn't caused serious economic hardship -- although you wouldn't mind re-entering the workforce at some point. If you volunteer in the community, have read an amusing or uplifting poem, mention that, too. In other words, "spin." That's what everyone else on social media does, so don't feel guilty about it.
DEAR ABBY: I have been dating my boyfriend, "Mark," for five years and we have talked about marriage, though we are not officially engaged. For sentimental and financial reasons, I would like to wear my deceased grandmother's engagement ring.
I worry that it may appear presumptuous if I were to ask my father for the ring, especially because I'm technically not engaged yet. I have considered asking my sister if she would suggest the idea to Dad, but I'm not sure about that either.
I'm nervous that Mark might go ahead and buy me a ring in the meantime if Dad hasn't already offered him the ring. Then I wouldn't have the chance to honor my grandmother's memory. How would you suggest I let my wishes be known? -- JITTERY FUTURE BRIDE IN BOSTON
DEAR JITTERY: Let your wishes be known by telling your boyfriend, "Mark, it has always been my dream to wear my grandmother's engagement ring." That will let him know he won't have to buy one for you. But do not approach your father asking for the ring until you are "technically" engaged.
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