DEAR ABBY: I am currently renting a room in the house of the mother of a friend of mine. The house is also shared with my friend's younger sister, who is in a relationship with another woman. Their relationship is pretty violent. The other night I was in my room, which is located next to the sister's room, and could hear her beating up on her girlfriend.
The mother is aware of the situation and has threatened to call the police if she doesn't stop, but she never does. I'm afraid if I say or do something, I'll be asked to leave since it isn't my house, even though I pay rent. What should I do? -- RENTER IN LAREDO, TEXAS
DEAR RENTER: If you have a written lease for the room you're renting, you cannot be evicted without cause. Talk to the mother and tell her that if she doesn't call the police when her daughter starts beating up on her girlfriend, you will. And if it happens again, follow through. If you do, the daughter may get the help she so obviously needs, and her victim will have a chance to get some help through domestic violence counseling.Read more in: Health & Safety
DEAR ABBY: I have seen letters in your column about insensitive, thoughtless remarks made by others about loss and grief. It has been my experience, though, that no one can ever say just the right thing. There are several stages of grief, and one never knows for sure which level the bereaved has reached. Therefore, any comment will most likely be the wrong one.
My advice is if you don't know what to say, state the obvious -- "Gee, I don't know what to say." Hold the person's hand briefly. Don't hug unless initiated. Take your cue from the person grieving. But remarking, "He's in a better place," "It's probably for the best," or "He was in so much pain" is wrong. The bereaved can say these things, but for you to do so seems like passing judgment.
"I don't know what to say" works for divorce, breakups or any catastrophic event. It has worked for me countless times. I have said nothing offensive, but left the door open for the friend or relative to engage in some much-needed venting. I hope my experience helps someone. -- DIPLOMATIC OUT WEST
DEAR DIPLOMATIC: Well said. You are indeed a diplomat.Read more in: Death | Etiquette & Ethics
DEAR ABBY: I'm a middle school boy and I enjoy the company of a certain girl very much. I expressed my feelings to her a couple of times, and at one point we almost kissed. The problem is she has a boyfriend. What's your advice on getting her to be with me? -- MIDDLE SCHOOL BOY
DEAR MIDDLE SCHOOL BOY: If she almost kissed you, it means she's attracted to you, too. So be patient, be cool and bide your time. If you do, pretty soon your time will come, she'll tire of her boyfriend, and you will avoid a black eye.Read more in: Love & Dating
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