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by Abigail Van Buren

Bigger Apartment May Not Be Better With a Roommate

DEAR ABBY: My fiancee and I are living in a studio apartment owned by her mother. We're currently looking for another place to live, and can't decide whether or not to get a two-bedroom and a roommate.

We both know the pros and cons of living with other people, and I have a potential roommate I trust completely. But I'm apprehensive because I had a roommate once before and it wasn't a great experience. We're still friends, but I would never live with him again.

We're trying to get out soon. I don't want to make the wrong decision and lose either a friend or a future wife because of money, hurt feelings or anything else. Please advise. -- MIKE IN FLORIDA

DEAR MIKE: Living together, as you have probably already learned, requires adjustment on the part of all of the parties concerned. While you trust this friend to be a responsible roommate, what if something unforeseeable were to happen and the person should have to unexpectedly move out? Would he or she be on the lease with you? Could you pay the rent without the help of another roommate? How would you manage if the roommate were to have a live-in, too?

Because of these questions, it might be better to take a place with one bedroom to avoid possible complications.

DEAR ABBY: Is it appropriate to send anniversary flowers to a widow? My husband's grandfather just passed away, and this will be his grandmother's first wedding anniversary as a widow.

Etiquette guides conflict in their advice regarding sending anniversary cards and flowers to widows. Would flowers be inappropriate? If not, what should the delivery card say? -- SENTIMENTAL IN KELLER, TEXAS

DEAR SENTIMENTAL: Sending flowers would be a kind and thoughtful gesture. The card could read, "You're in our thoughts and in our hearts. With love ..." because this will be anything but a happy anniversary. If you live near your husband's grandmother, offer to invite her over or take her out to dinner so she won't be alone.

DEAR ABBY: I'm a 21-year-old guy who needs to know how to properly introduce myself to a lady. My first instinct is to shake her hand -- that's how I introduce myself to guys. I'm always uneasy shaking a girl's hand because I am not sure if it is appropriate. If I am seated, I will stand to introduce myself, but then there's an awkward pause afterward. Please advise. -- A PROPER GENTLEMAN

DEAR GENTLEMAN: According to the rules of etiquette, it's the woman who dictates whether or not to shake hands. If she extends her hand, you should shake it. If not, keep your hands at your sides -- smile, tell her your name and say, "It's nice to meet you." That's all you have to do.

DEAR ABBY: I live in a nice, quiet neighborhood. A few months ago, however, a young woman who lived across the street from me was brutally stabbed to death by her jealous boyfriend. After a few months of getting the rental home cleaned up, there are new people moving in. Should I make sure they're aware of what happened or should I keep quiet? -- CONCERNED IN MISSOURI

DEAR CONCERNED: Exactly what are you concerned about -- that the boyfriend will come back and stab the new renters? They should have already been informed about the history of the place by the person renting the property. But if they weren't, I see little to be gained by your being the bearer of those bad tidings.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby -- Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)