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DEAR ABBY: A dear friend has been battling cervical cancer. Her condition has left her dependent on a colostomy bag. She's not shy about discussing it on Facebook and in public, where she speaks loudly. I have tried to be understanding and supportive, but there are limits.

My problem is, she's hell-bent on making sure I see this colostomy bag by frequently checking to see if it's full, even after returning from the bathroom where I'm certain she checked it. More recently, we were at a restaurant and she exposed her bag in full view of others while they were eating. (The bag was full!)

Not only was it disgusting, it's also unhygienic should the bag become disconnected or rupture. Am I insensitive for thinking this is inappropriate and that she should excuse herself to go to the bathroom? -- NAUSEATED IN MICHIGAN

DEAR NAUSEATED: No, I don't think you are insensitive. While a colostomy bag is nothing to be ashamed of, because it involves human waste, decorum dictates that it be kept away from the dining table. Have a frank talk with your friend, tell her her behavior is inappropriate, and ask her not to do it in front of you.


DEAR ABBY: I grew up in the generation where if you were gay and you came "out of the closet," as it was called, you were not accepted in the community. A lot has changed since then. However, when it hits close to home, it's difficult for me to deal with.

My 19-year-old daughter told me three years ago that she's gay. At first I thought she was going through a phase and she was trying to find herself. Now she's dating girls her age, and I'm having a difficult time accepting it. Can you help me? -- STRUGGLING MOTHER IN ILLINOIS

DEAR STRUGGLING: Be glad we're not living in the bad old days because the ones we're living in are healthier for everyone. Start by congratulating yourself for having raised a daughter who is honest about her feelings and determined to live her life authentically. While some things may be different than you fantasized when she was little, it does not mean she won't be happy, successful and possibly a parent, if she wishes. Support her as she navigates through her journey in life. If you do, you -- and she -- will be fine.


DEAR ABBY: During the last year, a female friend of mine has started suggesting that she wants more from our relationship than just a friendship. She has had a history of doing this whenever she becomes friends with a guy.

When she started sending me pictures that became more and more suggestive, I decided to distance myself from her. But in the last month, she has been getting increasingly bold with her advances. How do I handle this without hurting her? -- FRIEND AND NOTHING MORE IN IOWA

DEAR FRIEND: Tell your friend you like her, but what she has been doing is making you increasingly uncomfortable. Be direct about saying you are not interested in a sexual relationship with her. Then, if she persists, continue to distance yourself from her.

Read more in: Friends & Neighbors

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.)

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