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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I'm 19 and have a dear friend, "Emily," who is offended by cussing. She literally has never said a curse word in her life. When I'm around her I never use swear words because I respect her and her friendship.

My issue is that Emily gets very upset if people swear around her. There have been nights that she ended up in tears because someone used foul language. She also angrily confronts people on this issue.

I commend my friend on her decision not to curse, but I think it's unrealistic of her to expect everyone in the world to bend to her morals. I also think it's wrong for her to try to force them. Abby, what are your thoughts? -- CHALLENGED FRIEND IN LARAMIE, WYO.

DEAR CHALLENGED: If Emily prefers not to be in the company of people who use four-letter words, that's her privilege. And if she finds it offensive, she has a right to speak up and make it known. But to "wind up in tears" because someone used foul language -- as long as it wasn't directed toward her -- is overreacting. And for her to angrily confront someone about it would only invite more of the same. Emily will be much happier if she spends more time in the company of people who feel as she does.

DEAR ABBY: My daughter, "Gina," is engaged but hasn't started making any plans yet. We have had some rough mother/daughter years but are now in a good place. When it's time, I would like my daughter to ask me to help her pick out her wedding gown. I have a strong hunch that Gina will ask a girlfriend instead. I also know that if I talk to her about my wishes, she'll say, "Sure" or ask me to join her friends. This may seem silly, but I want her to want just me to go. What do you think is the best way to handle this? -- MOTHER OF THE BRIDE

DEAR MOTHER: Your relationship with your daughter may be better now, but its pattern was established years ago. You appear to be extremely invested in an "ideal" of how her wedding will be. For your own sake, lower your expectations. You can't make somebody want something if it doesn't come naturally. Because Gina isn't a mind reader, speak up now for that exclusive mother/daughter shopping jaunt. If she likes your fashion sense, she may agree. However, it is not unusual for a bride to include not only her mother, but also her attendants and future mother-in-law when choosing her wedding dress.

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend bought his house two years ago. We were fortunate to have found such a darling little place. It was owned by only one woman since it was built in the 1950s. She is now deceased, and we have no way of contacting anyone in her family.

For the last two years my boyfriend has received greeting cards from an old friend of the former owner. What should we do about the greeting cards? I feel terrible that he doesn't know the woman who lived here is no longer with us. -- STEPHANIE IN URBANA, ILL.

DEAR STEPHANIE: I know you and your boyfriend have the best of intentions, but according to the post office, whether there is a return address on the envelope or not, you should write "deceased" on the envelope and let the Postal Service handle the matter.

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