DEAR ABBY: My son is 24 and in the military. He has always been sarcastic, and his humor always involves cutting the other person down. I think it can be part of the culture in the military, which has made it worse. I thought as he matured he would mellow. It wears you down and becomes exhausting after a while.
I'm afraid he'll never be able to find and keep a girlfriend if he keeps acting this way. The "humor" quickly wears thin, and no one wants to be spoken to like that.
When girls start dating, most of them are taught to watch how a guy treats his mother and sisters because that's how he'll treat her eventually. If a girlfriend of his heard how he speaks to me and his sisters, they would run. Nice girls want nice guys, who speak kindly. How do I talk to him about this, or should I just keep my mouth shut? -- EXHAUSTED IN THE EAST
DEAR EXHAUSTED: Not only should you not stay silent, recognize that you should have insisted your son treat you and his sisters with respect and consideration by the age of 10. While that message may be harder to impress upon him at this late date, have that discussion with him now, and point out what an unattractive personality trait he's displaying. If you want to couch it in terms of how it will affect his love life, by all means do. No woman with self-esteem would tolerate what he's doing for long because it's verbal abuse.