DEAR ABBY: I have a friend who will help herself to anything in my fridge, pantry, etc. without asking. She also will eat most if not all food that's meant to be shared, such as appetizers and snacks at a social gathering. Once she literally polished off an entire plate of appetizers before my guests arrived and I had nothing to feed them.
After she finishes the food, she often says, "Oh, I was starving!" I find myself hiding food from her when she comes over, or delaying putting treats out for guests until later in the party.
The most recent episode was when I was preparing food for my toddler. While it was cooling on the counter, she helped herself to all of it. She told me afterward she had consumed it.
So you see -- nothing is safe, not even a child's meal. Abby, how can I tell her what she's doing is wrong and rude? -- STUMPED IN STUDIO CITY, CALIF.
DEAR STUMPED: Your friend may be a compulsive eater, but that's no excuse for what she has been doing. Tell her in plain English that you don't like it when she helps herself to food without first asking, or hogging it when it has been prepared for a party.
Taking something that was meant for your toddler was over the top. Say that if she's feeling "starved" when she's headed for your house, she should have a snack to take the edge off before arriving. And if you see less of her because of your frankness, consider yourself lucky.Read more in: Friends & Neighbors
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I and our toddler son were recently out to dinner. A woman walked past our table to the family next to us and gushed about how "beautiful" the couple's daughter was. Their child was the same age as our son, who is just as well-behaved.
I found it hurtful that a stranger would compliment one child and ignore the family seated at the next table. My husband disagrees. Am I wrong to be offended? Do you think this was rude? -- FURIOUS IN FLORIDA
DEAR FURIOUS: I agree with your husband. I doubt the woman deliberately meant to slight your son. All her attention was simply focused on the little girl.Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics
DEAR ABBY: I always take my shower before I go to bed. My friends take their showers in the morning. Which one is correct? I wouldn't want to go to sleep dirty. -- GARY IN BROOKLYN
DEAR GARY: The time of day one takes a shower is a matter of personal preference and lifestyle. If you are a mechanic or do heavy physical labor, showering before you go to bed makes sense. However, if your job requires working closely with the public or co-workers, then taking a shower in the morning before work is considerate.Read more in: Health & Safety
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)