DEAR ABBY: I have officially found my biggest pet peeve. It's a pervasive issue with my generation of committing to something and not showing up.
They'll flake at the last minute, or refuse to commit to something because there's a possibility something better will come along. And constantly showing up late has become normal with young adults. Furthermore, despite the many technological advances that allow us to communicate quickly, their failure to communicate about plans astounds and infuriates me.
I've encountered this problem too often with friends, co-workers, bosses and professors at university. I have tried to let it roll off my back and remind people about how their rudeness affects others, but I'm not sure what else I can do.
Obviously, I can't control other people. How can I express my frustration without being a monster? -- HAD IT UP TO HERE
DEAR HAD IT: I assume that you have already expressed your frustration to at least some of the people you have described. If this happens regularly, it's a sign that they don't care how their behavior affects others.
You can spare yourself much stress if you start "deleting" irresponsible, self-centered individuals from your circle to the extent that it's possible. Of course, you can't do that with those who have control over your life such as professors or employers right now, so you will have to tolerate some of this behavior for the present.
DEAR ABBY: My father, a widower, is in his late 80s. He's in great shape, still drives, goes on vacations and volunteers twice a week. He is brilliant, and enjoys cars, gambling and eating.
I promised I'd call him on a weekly basis, but I don't know what to talk to my father about. He's a man of few words, so our conversations are somewhat limited after I ask about his interests. I'd be very appreciative if you or your readers can suggest some topics I haven't thought of. -- STUMPED DAUGHTER
DEAR STUMPED DAUGHTER: How about talking to your father about some of your own interests -- what you have been doing, movies or plays you have seen, restaurants you have tried that he might enjoy, what's going on with other relatives, and current events. If necessary, make a short list of topics from your local newspaper and keep it with you when you call him. And remember, conversations don't have to be long ones -- just interesting.
DEAR READERS: Allow me to wish a Happy Father's Day to fathers everywhere -- birth fathers, stepfathers, adoptive and foster fathers, grandfathers, and all of those caring men who mentor children and fill the role of absent dads. I applaud you all! -- LOVE, ABBY
P.S. And per many readers' requests, I'm giving a shout-out to dual-role moms, too.
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.)