DEAR ABBY: What is considered good manners when you enter the home of a 20-something Northerner? I'm a graduate student who recently moved from the South to the East Coast. When I visit the homes of my Northern friends, I feel they are being rude for not inviting me to come in and sit down.
When visitors come to my place, I ask if I can take their coats, ask them to please sit and make themselves comfortable and offer something to drink. It feels strange to enter someone's living space and not hear these pleasantries. It also makes me feel as if I'm imposing.
If others arrive around the same time, I try to follow their cues, but I still find it uncomfortable to just plop down and make myself at home. Should I just get over it? -- FISH OUT OF WATER
DEAR FISH OUT OF WATER: If you have been invited to someone's home, then you are welcome. That your visit doesn't begin with the customary rituals you're used to does not mean that your host is rude. Yes, you should "get over it." Just go with the flow -- in time you will adjust.
DEAR ABBY: I don't have a car. I can't afford one at this time. For the last two years a friend has been doing me a favor by taking me grocery shopping every week. I can (and do) take the bus to the local grocery store, but it makes it easier to buy things in bulk with a car. We have dinner, go to an occasional movie and generally have a good time hanging out. I buy her dinner sometimes as a thank-you for her great help.
Recently, I got to meet a group of her friends. She introduced me to every single person by going over the whole history of my not having a car, and how she has taken me grocery shopping every week. All her friends began praising her for her kindness. I was upset and embarrassed that rather than introduce me as a friend she instead portrayed me as an object of her charity.
I always thought she enjoyed our get-togethers. She used to rebuff any attempts on my part to make our shopping trips less frequent. Do I suck it up for the sake of our friendship, or do I discontinue or curtail our meetings? -- EMBARRASSED IN MICHIGAN
DEAR EMBARRASSED: What your "benefactor" did was extremely insensitive. True acts of charity are done anonymously. For now, my advice is to suck it up not for the sake of the friendship, but to do so for the sake of the transportation unless you can find an alternative.
DEAR ABBY: When I was 15, my mother put away a large sum of money for me as a college fund. A few years later, she quit her job and began drinking and smoking heavily.
I have now graduated from high school and have discovered that when she quit her job she used my college fund to pay for her alcohol and cigarettes.
Yes, it was her money. But it was intended for my education. Am I wrong to be upset? -- DISAPPOINTED SON IN FORT GRATIOT, MICH.
DEAR DISAPPOINTED SON: Of course you're not wrong to be upset. You wouldn't be human if you weren't. However, now that you know the money you were promised won't be there, you need to start researching ways to finance completing your education. A place to begin would be your nearest library -- or online. Also, many schools allow students to work part-time on campus to help with the cost of classes, so look into that, too.
For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)