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by Abigail Van Buren

Friends Don't See Eye to Eye on What's Funny

DEAR ABBY: I know a man who is a wonderful person, but he has a habit that is very disturbing. He gets angry when I laugh. He says I shouldn't be laughing because he thinks what I'm laughing at isn't funny.

I used to start a phrase with, "The funny thing is," meaning strange or odd, and he would cut me off saying, "I don't see why you think that's funny." I have since changed the phrase to "The odd thing is" to keep the peace. How can I handle this without creating a scene or argument? It is annoying when we are alone and embarrassing when we are in public. --UNFUNNY IN TEXAS

DEAR UNFUNNY: I am sure it's embarrassing. "Wonderful" people do not correct others in public. They wait and do it privately. This person may have redeeming qualities, but tact and a sense of humor are not two of them. If telling him you don't like what he's doing and that it's inappropriate will cause a scene or an argument, my advice is to reevaluate the relationship.

Read more in: Friends & Neighbors | Etiquette & Ethics