DEAR ABBY: My sister "Blanche" and her husband moved to the small town where my husband and I settled 23 years ago. Blanche is 11 years older than I am. My husband and I like our space, but we do spend time with them. They are retired, but we are still working.
Over the past three years they have not made any friends here in town to socialize with. They are now contacting my friends because we don't go out on weekdays and see them multiple times a week. Frankly, it's driving a wedge between all of us -- my family and my friends. I'm very resentful that they can't find their own friends. Am I wrong? -- GO FIND YOUR OWN FRIENDS
DEAR GO FIND: Feeling resentful is a waste of your time and energy. You can't control the social lives of other adults, nor should you expect to. Your sister hasn't kidnapped these individuals, so they must be socializing together willingly. This isn't a competition. Your friends are still your friends. You will be happier if you try harder to quell your insecurity.
DEAR ABBY: I love to cook. It's my passion. Problem is, when I cook for people coming over for dinner, my wife likes to sample the food before they arrive. What really upsets me is when I make a cake or something that needs to be served whole, she cuts into it and it looks like I'm serving leftover food. It's infuriating.
To me, the presentation is important. She couldn't care less. If I mark it "Do Not Eat" or hide the food, then I'm "wrong" or "going too far." Help! -- FOOD FIGHT IN NEW YORK
DEAR F.F.: Of course the presentation is important. Ask yourself why your wife would deliberately do something to ruin the meals you prepare for company. Could it be jealousy that you are the center of attention?
What she's doing is inconsiderate and disrespectful. If she's so hungry she can't control herself, she can make a peanut butter sandwich in an instant, or peel a banana in even less time. Because you must go so far as to hide the dishes you don't want "sampled," then I have to disagree with your Mrs. You are not going too far at all. Put your foot down!
DEAR ABBY: My best friend since childhood, "Jeff," died eight months ago; he was in a 57-year marriage. I have known his still-attractive widow, "Della," since they were newlyweds. I have been divorced for decades.
I have long admired Della at a distance, quietly, out of respect for Jeff. It helped that over the years we lived in different states. I believe she sensed my admiration for her.
How long should I wait before I begin showing my interest in her as a potential partner in our golden years? -- WISHFUL IN THE EAST
DEAR WISHFUL: Did you reach out to Della to express condolences when you learned of Jeff's death? If not, do it now. If she responds, follow up with a phone call -- and possibly a visit to her community and dinner if she's agreeable. Once you are in regular contact with her, you will be able to determine if the interest is mutual.
TO MY IRISH READERS: Happy St. Patrick's Day!
"May the most you wish for
"be the least you get.
"May the best times you've ever had
"be the worst you will ever see."
For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)