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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: My brother and his girlfriend live together. One day I heard his ex-girlfriend had passed away suddenly, so I told him because I thought he should know. Well! His girlfriend messaged me and told me to mind my own business and stay away from my brother. She's very jealous, and she lets it show. They aren't engaged or married.

What was wrong with my telling him before he read it in the news? Other people have told me I didn't do anything wrong. My boyfriend said the same thing. She has now threatened my relationship with them. -- JUST LETTING HIM KNOW

DEAR JUST: There was absolutely nothing wrong with giving your brother the sad news. As your brother's sibling, if you feel there is anything he needs to know, you should say it. His girlfriend appears to be pathologically controlling. Do not "stay away" from him. The next time you talk with him, tell him what she said and point out that her attitude isn't healthy for any of you.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Death

DEAR ABBY: My sister is a survivor of breast cancer. She had a single mastectomy and wears a sports bra these days. When I asked her if she was going to get a prosthetic, she told me she doesn't care.

Recently I met a survivor who was giving away her prosthetics, and she ended up giving them to me to give to my sister. I don't think my sister needs to have a prosthetic. I just thought it would be nice for the days she did decide she'd like one.

My question is, how do I tenderly give her the gift without her thinking I think she needs it? Or should I not give it to her at all? -- UNSURE IN THE MIDWEST

DEAR UNSURE: Not knowing your sister, I can't predict how she may react. However, the prudent way to go about it would be to mention to her that you encountered a survivor who no longer needs her prosthetic and ask if she might like to have it in her drawer. If she refuses, let it go and don't raise the subject again.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Health & Safety

Talk of Bankruptcy Earns Friend the Silent Treatment

DEAR ABBY: I have provided pastoral counseling for 25 years. When an old friend mentioned that she was out of work and couldn't pay her mortgage, I emailed her a few job notices. In addition, I offered some suggestions about how she could earn some income, such as teaching private golf lessons or holding an indoor yard sale.

I also gave her phone numbers for the Land Loss Prevention Project and the phone number of a bankruptcy firm. She scoffed at my suggestion of bankruptcy protection to save her home. I am perplexed. Abby, what would make a person in need say "Bankruptcy! Really?" and stop speaking to me? -- PERPLEXED IN THE SOUTH

DEAR PERPLEXED: Your old friend may have been put off or frightened when you used the word "bankruptcy." Or, she may have been expecting you to rescue her by offering her a loan instead of ways to help herself.

Read more in: Money | Friends & Neighbors | Work & School

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