DEAR ABBY: My friend "Veronica" is obsessed with food -- not just eating it, but also talking about it, looking at it and watching me eat. She frequently asks me what I'm eating, especially if it's something I have made. I can't open a container of yogurt without her asking what flavor it is.
On a daily basis, Veronica announces what she's making for dinner that night, what she made the night before and what kind of desserts she has planned. I used to share my food with her, but I stopped when she wanted bites I didn't offer. I had to stop buying from the vending machine at work, too, because Veronica began to expect to share. When I refused, she'd make "joking" snide remarks. She never has any money to return the favors.
Veronica will tap her cup on the table and watch me out of the corner of her eye. Or, she'll stare at what I'm eating. If anyone at the table has extra food or dessert, Veronica will be the first to take it. She could tell you what all five women at that table had for lunch that day, but she's particularly interested in mine.
Veronica is a good cook and she's not overweight. But she's driving me crazy. Is her obsession some kind of disorder? -- FOOD-SHY IN OHIO
DEAR FOOD-SHY: Your friend does seem to be preoccupied with food. From your description of her behavior it's surprising that she doesn't have a weight problem. Yet you say she makes dinners and desserts every night.
Could it be that she doesn't eat breakfast or lunch, which is why she's mooching off the others? Or could she be short of money? While I agree that what you have described could be signs of an obsession, it is possible that the woman is famished.
DEAR ABBY: I'm 18 and a high school graduate. My best friend was raped a year ago. It took her a long time to be able to tell me, and although I begged her to tell, she would not go to the authorities. She has heard stories from other girls and has reason to believe the same boy has raped them, too.
I believe if she came forward, the other girls might speak up. Then he won't be able to continue to do this to other girls. But I can't change her mind.
Is there something I can do? Can I go to the police and tell them what she told me? Should I talk to a lawyer? I don't want to see her regret not doing something. She's very fragile and this is so hard for her. She has told very few people. Please tell me how to help her. I don't know what to do. -- WISH I COULD DO MORE, BIRMINGHAM, ALA.
DEAR WISH: The most helpful thing you can do is encourage your friend to contact a rape treatment center. Although the rape occurred a year ago, she can still benefit from counseling to help her recover from the trauma. If she is reluctant to go, then give her the phone number of the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (R.A.I.N.N.). It's 800-656-4673. A counselor there may be able to help her find the help she needs.
However, she needs to do this for herself. As well-meaning as you are, you can't do it for her.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)