DEAR ABBY: My 18-year-old daughter, a junior in high school, is still living at home. She has befriended a 51-year-old man at her first job (a burger place). We have told her that although she is kind to be friendly with him at work, we feel it's inappropriate to do things with him outside of work. She's now upset with us and claims we "don't understand," "nothing romantic is going on" and she thinks of him like a "second father."
Although they have not gotten together yet outside of work, she announced last weekend that she was going to meet him for lunch. We put our foot down and told her no way, and she was forbidden to borrow either of our vehicles to go. (She doesn't have her own car yet.) She relented, but how can we convince her that this is a bad idea with the world the way it is nowadays?
I have suggested to her father (with whom my daughter has a close relationship) that he speak to this man one on one. My husband feels this is something she has to learn for herself. She's very naive. What do you think? -- MOM OF A TEEN
DEAR MOM: Frankly, I think your husband is right. While you may wish to protect your daughter, she's an adult now. People learn more life lessons from experience than they do from lectures.
DEAR ABBY: I am 11 years old and having some big bully blues. There is one girl in my class who steals friends. She's been taking mine. Any advice? -- BULLIED IN GEORGIA
DEAR BULLIED: Yes, I do. This may not be bullying in the physical sense, but losing a friend can be painful.
It is important that you realize that people aren't inanimate objects that can be "owned" or "stolen." Much as we might wish it, relationships do not always stay the same. Friendships can be stronger at times and weaker at others, and people sometimes drift from one close friendship to another.
When this happens, regard it as an opportunity, because that's what it is. It's a chance for you to get involved in activities that will expose you to new people and offer you a way to make NEW friends.
DEAR ABBY: A friend of mine and his wife invited me out to dinner and I graciously thanked them. They are both employed. I live strictly on Social Security and pay 30 percent of my income for rent, barely making ends meet.
I wanted to reciprocate, so I invited them over for a home-cooked meal. My friend came, but his wife is shy and didn't come. (I had a couple of other friends over.)
If someone wants to reciprocate being taken out for dinner, isn't it acceptable to invite them over for a home-cooked meal or must they be taken out? -- TENTATIVE HOST IN MASSACHUSETTS
DEAR TENTATIVE: No rule of etiquette dictates that you must take your guests out to dinner. Inviting them for a home-cooked meal was both gracious and appropriate.
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