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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I need some advice about my girlfriend "Vivian's" son. "Kirk" is 22 and very immature. I love Vivian with all my heart, and I get upset when Kirk verbally abuses her. I try not to say anything because I feel it's not my place because he's not my son.

Kirk hasn't worked in two years. He walks into his mother's house and takes whatever he wants -- food, toothpaste, rolls of toilet paper, etc. He won't help her around the house, mow the lawn or wash a dirty dish he has used. And he lives rent-free in one of the duplexes his mother bought for additional income.

Vivian is a wonderful woman who is hard-working and self-supporting. She's also tired of her son's lack of motivation and how he takes her for granted.

I know a mother doesn't want to see her child go hungry, but where do you draw the line? -- FED UP IN TEXAS

DEAR FED UP: Vivian should draw the line at the front door. By tolerating her son's disrespectful behavior she is doing him no favors. Unless he actively looks for a job, stops helping himself to her property and does something to repay her generosity (mowing the lawn and washing the dishes he uses would be a good start), she should stop "helping" him. What she's doing is crippling her son, who may be in need of counseling.

DEAR ABBY: Please inform your readers not to invite people to bridal showers if they're not invited to the wedding.

I was invited to a shower and accidentally found out I wasn't being invited to the wedding. At first I was upset, but imagine how mortified I felt when I was told that if some of the invited guests sent back a refusal, then I would be invited to the wedding. I would have preferred to have been told, "I'd love to have you, but we just can't afford to invite all of the lovely people we would like."

I know this isn't the first time you've mentioned something like this in your column, but it amazes me how insensitive people can be. -- SECOND STRING, BRADFORD, MASS.

DEAR SECOND STRING: Being told we are at the top of the "B" list makes us feel really wanted, doesn't it? If people would take just a moment to consider how their words and deeds affect others, what a kinder, gentler world this would be.

P.S. For the record: People who will not be invited to the wedding should not be asked to attend a bridal shower.

DEAR ABBY: My divorced daughter stretched her food budget to "surprise" me with my favorite double cheese pizza with black olive topping. After everyone had eaten, I eyed the leftovers and decided to help out by gorging on the extra slices.

My subsequent gallstone attack did not hurt as much as my oldest granddaughter's query: "Grandpa, why did you force yourself to finish the pizza? Mommy promised us it would be our snack tomorrow."

Gluttonous guests -- and that includes me -- should not assume that "leftovers" are fair game. The hostess may have plans for them. -- S.G. IN LAGUNA WOODS

DEAR S.G.: How true. Wisdom -- and good manners -- dictate that nothing should be taken from the host's kitchen without permission. I have received more than one letter over the years describing a refrigerator raid in which the guest wound up with a sandwich loaded with what turned out to be pet food.

Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: "Abby's Favorite Recipes" and "More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $14 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)