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by Abigail Van Buren

Public Insults Should Sometimes Be Dealt With in Private

DEAR ABBY: I have read many of your columns and enjoyed them. These days though, you seem to hear from more and more people who are afraid of saying what needs to be said. I suspect it can be chalked up to the "be politically correct" nature of our country lately. But why is it that when people do speak their minds, others consider them rude? I let people know when they are disrespectful to me in public, and I don't put up with being put down. Am I wrong in feeling that people who say mean things need to be immediately corrected? Or am I really being rude? -- FARMGIRL IN MISSOURI

DEAR FARMGIRL: You are not wrong, and it is not rude if you choose to defend yourself. What you are being is assertive, which is a healthy personality trait. No one should have to accept as normal social interaction being made to feel "less than" in public. If someone has a bone to pick with you -- and vice versa -- it should be done in private.

Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics