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by Abigail Van Buren

Really, No One Wants To Hear About Your Aches And Pains

DEAR ABBY: How does one stop family and old friends from going on and on about their aches, pains, symptoms, conditions, doctor visits and medications in excruciating detail? Aside from my mother (who is 85), I don't care to hear about this from others. It has taught me a lesson I wish people would follow: While I do have back issues, I speak of them only to my doctor.

I try to be patient, but some folks seem to need someone to vent to. I don't want to be the one they "tell all" to. I try to tune it out, but I wish there was an easy way to let them know enough is enough.

Any ideas on the best way to handle these people? Or am I stuck being a good listener forever? -- NOBODY'S THERAPIST IN CROFTON, MD.

DEAR NOBODY'S THERAPIST: Try this: Say, "Really, I'm sorry to hear that." Then change the subject to something you read in the newspaper, saw on television or that's happening in your community.

Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics | Health & Safety