DEAR ABBY: My wife died a few years ago. I live alone and have been a bachelor since then. Old friends have been kind enough to pass along the names and phone numbers of widows or divorcees they felt would be of interest to me. I have taken several of them out to dinner. Some were interesting, but for one reason or another we didn't have enough "chemistry" for me to call them for another date.
What is the considerate thing to do after having just one date? Should I call the person and say it was pleasant, but ...? Should I not call at all and move on? I feel guilty at times for not following up with some comment, as they were mostly nice women. Any suggestions about how to handle these situations would be welcome. -- MIAMI WIDOWER
DEAR WIDOWER: Conversations such as this can be awkward, which is why many people avoid having them. Because you feel you "should" say something, a way to handle it would be to say you had a nice time, but you are still grieving and are not ready for a relationship. Chemistry is supposed to be mutual, so don't be surprised if some of the women aren't interested in pursuing a relationship with you, either. That's life.
DEAR ABBY: I work in a store that is popular with teenagers. Every Christmas, parents and grandparents come in here with absolutely no clue what to get. Asking "What's popular right now?" doesn't help. (What's cool to one teen may be lame to another.) I'd like to offer a couple of tips to help clueless relatives select the right gift for their teen.
(1) Bring a recent photo of her or him. We can tell a lot by looking. It will provide hints as to what kind of gift they may like.
(2) Copy a list of their "likes" from Facebook and bring it with you. It may mention books, music, movies or other interests that will make it easy to track down something they would enjoy.
I hope this helps some of your readers. -- VALERIE IN FORT WORTH
DEAR VALERIE: Bless you for writing. I'm sure many parents and grandparents will take your suggestions to heart. Santa isn't the only one who needs a "helper" at Christmastime.
DEAR ABBY: What do you think of a 30-year-old man who posted every detail about his breakup with my daughter on Facebook for all of their 1,000 friends and family members to read? There was some personal and very painful stuff.
Is this the "new generation" norm? Or is he immature and inconsiderate? -- HURTING FOR MY DAUGHTER
DEAR HURTING: Welcome to the wonderful world of the Internet, where millions of individuals have chosen to live their lives online for all to see. And while you and I might consider what happened to be a form of kissing-and-telling, bragging, a bid for sympathy and in poor taste, the people who love your daughter will "unfriend" this person, and those who love gossip will devour every detail with relish.
In time your daughter will realize she is lucky this relationship is over. Whether her former boyfriend used Facebook to gain 15 minutes of fame or as a weapon to hurt her, I think she can do better. Don't you?
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order "How to Be Popular." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)