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

by Abigail Van Buren

Sick Dinner Guest Puzzled by Hosts' Silent Response

DEAR ABBY: I was at a party where guests were exposed to salmonella that was on one of the vegetables served as an appetizer. At least 11 people were affected by it. The hosts talked to only one or two of the people who were affected. Some of us were concerned that the hosts didn't contact everyone and warn them of what had happened.

Don't you think they had a responsibility to contact all their guests and advise them of the problem, and even express concern and apologies? -- SICK IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR SICK: Yes, I do. A responsible host would not only call to advise the guests and apologize to anyone who was affected, but also contact the manager of the store at which the vegetables were purchased. If the store isn't put on notice, it can't prevent other customers from buying contaminated produce.

Now that you know how little consideration your hosts had for the welfare of their guests, reconsider accepting another of their dinner invitations.

DEAR ABBY: "Amy" and I have been married seven years. I used to enjoy family gatherings with my parents and brothers, but I am finding them stressful. Amy always seems to have an issue with "time." My family is easygoing and sometimes late for various reasons. Amy doesn't understand why this happens. She believes the timelines are being amended to suit one of my brothers and his family. Their tardiness bothers Amy, and she asked me to talk to my family members about it.

I did, and they don't see a problem. This is the way our family has always been. Amy stresses me out (high blood pressure runs on the male side of my family) when I should be enjoying these gatherings. By the way, my wife is an only child and has no extended family. She has never experienced what larger families go through. Should she ease off, or should I ask my loved ones to change their ways? -- PRESSURED IN TORONTO

DEAR PRESSURED: You said you have already talked to your family about this. Because this is the way your family has always functioned, it is highly unlikely that they're going to change now. Sometimes you have to accept family warts and all, and this appears to be one of them. If Amy's complaining is truly causing your blood pressure to spike, your physician should be telling her to lower the "pressure" she's putting on you.

DEAR ABBY: I recently got out of a two-year relationship. He broke up with me without explanation. I'm not over him and it still hurts, but at the same time I am starting to have feelings for someone else. The problem is I'm afraid he's just the "rebound" guy. What should I do? -- READY TO MOVE ON IN OHIO

DEAR READY TO MOVE ON: You're still healing -- and being attracted to someone other than the man who dumped you shows you are progressing. That's a good sign. Rather than worry about whether this relationship will be "for keeps," take it a step at a time. Enjoy his company, let him enjoy yours, and be thankful the romance that didn't work out didn't take up more of your time. A person -- male or female -- who would end a two-year relationship the way your ex-boyfriend did wasn't worth much in the first place.

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.)