DEAR ABBY: I'm writing for advice on friendship. There is a person who insists we are "best friends." She calls every day to gossip and get into people's business, including mine. We are grown women and I find this childish.
I am a loner. I don't like too many people in my space, but I don't want to hurt her feelings. I just want her to get a life. I'm married; she's single. We have nothing in common, in my opinion, and she tries to keep up with my every move. If I don't answer the phone at home, she calls me at work.
Help me tell this person, without being hurtful and rude, that I like her but I want to have a normal adult relationship with her. I have other close friends, but I don't have to call or talk to them every day to maintain our friendship. -- INFRINGED UPON IN MISSISSIPPI
DEAR INFRINGED UPON: The woman may be trying to live vicariously through you, which is why she's calling daily and pumping you for information. Tell her that phone calls at work are distracting, so please don't call you there.
She should also be told that while you like her, the closeness she craves has become claustrophobic and is making you uncomfortable, so to please limit her calls to one or two a week. If you do not set boundaries, you can't expect her to observe them.
DEAR ABBY: I know a fairly well-to-do couple who, after living together for a while, have decided to get married. I went to their online wedding registry to select something for them and was stunned to see that several of the items they had on there were pricey items for their cats. Is this the status quo these days, or is it just plain bad taste?
I chose to put money toward another item, but now I'm wondering if it will go where it was directed -- and not to the cats. It was also suggested that I provide an email address so that an e-card of thanks might be sent.
Abby, you keep telling your readers that times have changed. I reluctantly guess we need to resign ourselves to the emails, but what is your take on the gift suggestions? -- OFFENDED WEDDING GUEST IN NEW YORK
DEAR OFFENDED: The couple you mentioned may have most (or all) of the household items they need. While the request for something for their pets instead of themselves is somewhat unusual, no rule of etiquette forbids it. The object is to give something they can use, and I'm having trouble understanding why you find their request offensive.
I do, however, take exception to the idea of a generic, mass mailing being used to acknowledge wedding gifts rather than an individual thank you. If that's what they're planning, it seems more of an impersonal "shrug" than an actual expression of gratitude.
DEAR ABBY: A woman at work wears flip-flops every day. The sound of her walking is extremely annoying, to the point where I get a headache every day. The boss says her footwear is fine. Any advice? Thanks. -- FOOTSTEPS IN OHIO
DEAR FOOTSTEPS: If the boss says her footwear is fine, then you're out of luck. Wear earplugs, use aspirin as directed and pray for an early winter.
DEAR ABBY: Is it wrong to answer a question with a question? -- CURIOUS IN K.C.
DEAR CURIOUS: Why do you ask?
To order "How to Write Letters for All Occasions," send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.