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by Abigail Van Buren

Whiny Sister Should Take Her Ailments to a Doctor

DEAR ABBY: My sister "Dena" has a lot of health issues. She weighs more than 300 pounds, has bad knees, ankles and legs, liver trouble and bad nerves. I love her dearly. She's not only my sister, but my best friend. I feel sorry for her, but I can't take her constant complaining every single day.

Sure, everyone has bad days, but Dena complains to anyone who will listen -- friends, family, everybody. She never asks how anyone else is doing. I beg her to make a doctor's appointment. Most times, she doesn't go and keeps complaining.

I don't want to hurt her feelings, but this has taken a toll on me. Abby, I have my own aches and pains to manage. How can I tell my sister -- in an endearing way -- to stop all her moaning and groaning? -- REACHED MY LIMIT IN HOUSTON

DEAR REACHED YOUR LIMIT: Your sister may complain about her aches and pains because she has nothing else to think about. She is limited in her activities so her world has shrunk to nothing beyond herself. How sad for her.

The next time she raises the subject, tell her the person who should be hearing her symptoms is her doctor because there's nothing you can do about them. And follow up with, "Now, Honey, tell me something positive. We all have things to be thankful for."

DEAR ABBY: We have close friends who are like family. They have one child -- a son, "Justin," who is in the Boy Scouts. He has wanted to quit for two years but his parents won't let him. They have been doing his work on the badges all along. His dad is the scout leader. They volunteer us all the time on different projects, but we're tired of it and have tried in a nice way to let them know.

What bothers me most is that Justin sits around playing video games while we're stuck doing his work. Now, his parents have him going for his Eagle Scout project -- a large one requiring quite a bit of work -- and they have volunteered us again. My husband already works hard. It isn't fair that he does all the work and Justin gets the credit. Without destroying this friendship, what do you suggest, Abby? -- FED UP DOWN SOUTH

DEAR FED UP: If your friendship with this couple is based on being at their beck and call and doing their son's projects for him, then you're paying a high price for it. Justin should be earning his own merit badges, and your husband should be telling the scoutmaster that he has projects of his own that take precedence. It doesn't have to be said harshly, just firmly. If your husband can't muster the courage, then face it -- you'll both be in the Boy Scouts until Justin has "flown" as an Eagle.

DEAR ABBY: I am a 20-year-old female. I'm working on a degree, have a job, but have never had a serious boyfriend. I don't have a problem socializing with men, but I'm interested in them only until they ask me out. I'll go on a date or two, then I'll be done with them. It doesn't matter if they're sweethearts or bad boys. It seems I like only what I can't have.

Is there something wrong with me, or will it be different when I meet "the one"? -- ALWAYS SINGLE IN OHIO

DEAR ALWAYS SINGLE: It appears you like the chase more than the reward. While it may be different when you meet "the one," recognize that you have established a pattern. There is more to a relationship with a man than getting his attention. You also have to NURTURE it.

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)