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by Abigail Van Buren

Angry Outbursts Spoil Group's Enjoyment of Spirited Debates

DEAR ABBY: I frequently socialize with friends who like to participate in debates. We share different opinions on topics such as politics, geopolitical events, etc. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don't.

The problem is "Bob." When others don't see things the way he does, he throws a fit. Once, it got so bad that one of my friends got up and left. Another time, while I was expressing my political view to the group, Bob made faces, rolled his eyes and attacked me with ridicule. I got very annoyed.

Bob demands that we listen to what HE has to say, but refuses to listen to others. He's fine as long as you agree with him. But in this current climate, I'm expecting more eruptions. Abby, what do I do when the next fit erupts? -- CAUGHT IN THE STORM

DEAR CAUGHT: The next time a "fit" erupts, call Bob on it and point out that what he's doing is disrespectful. If he doesn't stop, do as your other friend did. Get up and leave. Perhaps when Bob finds himself surrounded by an ever-shrinking audience, he will stop his overbearing performance. And if he doesn't, at least you won't have to suffer.

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