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by Abigail Van Buren

Christian Family Man Isn't Right Choice for Atheist

DEAR ABBY: My friend and roommate "Kristina" is a great person with a big heart. However, one of her "quirks" is starting to bother me, and I'm not sure how to deal with it.

Kristina is an extremely picky eater who is repulsed by any ethnic food. I am Asian, and if we pass an Asian restaurant (or any other ethnic restaurant, for that matter) she makes comments like, "How can people eat that?" or, "That's disgusting!" When I have pointed out to her that her attitude can be insulting, she casually apologizes but her behavior continues.

I realize Kristina is set in her ways and that there's probably nothing I can do to change her attitude toward cultural cuisine. I feel like a nag every time I suggest she's being insensitive. Do you have any suggestions as to how I can respond to her disparaging comments? -- RAISED ON RICE IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR RAISED ON RICE: "Great" people with "big hearts" do not say the first thing that pops into their heads, particularly when they know it can be hurtful. Because you have already told Kristina her comments are insensitive and insulting, and she continues to make them, it's time you recognize that she doesn't care about your feelings.

The surest ways to insulate yourself are to avoid going near ethnic restaurants when you're with her, or spend less time in her company.