DEAR ABBY: My wife, a convert to reform Judaism, died this past year. The day before she passed, while she was in a coma, Roman Catholic family members asked if they could bring in a priest. I said OK because I knew it meant a lot to them. A priest came and administered last rites. (My wife was born and raised a Catholic.)
I have been having serious second thoughts about my decision. Nobody outside my family knows about this. Did I make the right call, or should I have politely told my wife's family that I could not agree to their request? -- TROUBLED REFORM JEW
DEAR TROUBLED: Your wife, who had converted to Judaism, was comatose. What happened at her bedside made no difference to her at that point. It was kind and generous of you to allow the priest to come for the sake of your in-laws. You did it for the right reasons, so please do not second-guess yourself now. What happened does not impugn the authenticity of the Jewish rites that you used to bury her.
DEAR ABBY: A year ago, my friend "Stephanie" decided to stop cutting hair as her second job. She had done mine, my husband's and our son's hair for years. We switched to a stylist she referred us to and have been satisfied with the service.
We just found out Stephanie is going to start cutting hair again, and my husband and I want to switch back to seeing her. The sticky part is, we already have appointments with the new person, and Stephanie's going to be working at the same salon where she referred us. Is it rude to call and ask to switch our stylist knowing that we will be seeing both of them in the same place? -- TENTATIVE IN THE MIDWEST
DEAR TENTATIVE: No, it is not rude. Tell your new stylist that you have decided to go back to Stephanie in light of your long relationship. Make the switch as cordial as possible. Explain that it has nothing to do with the quality of the stylists' work. When you visit the salon, be friendly to both stylists. That way, if Stephanie decides to quit cutting hair again or even takes a vacation, you will have someone to fall back on.
DEAR ABBY: I have read your column for years and notice that many of the letters come from people who let others run roughshod over them or do things to them they are not happy with. My suggestion is a simple adage that has helped me through life: "People can only do to you what you allow them to do to you."
I realize this may not be a panacea for all situations, and for those who have difficulty asserting themselves it may not come easy. But folks will continue doing to you what you allow them to do until you say no. What do you think, Abby? -- KIP IN AUSTIN, TEXAS
DEAR KIP: I think your mantra is a helpful reminder for those who need it. However, many individuals need more support than that, and for them I would recommend assertiveness training because one of the hardest words in the English language to say is no.
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