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by Abigail Van Buren

Aches and Pains Discussed at Dinner Make Socializing a Downer

DEAR ABBY: I have many older friends, and when we go out for lunch or dinner, all they talk about is their aches and pains and other medical stuff. I will always be their friend and support them, but sometimes it's such a downer, they even get depressed listening to each other.

What's the best way to change the conversation to happy subjects while being sensitive at the same time? -- HAPPY SUBJECTS ONLY

DEAR HAPPY: Older people sometimes dwell on their aches, pains and other medical stuff because they have little else to occupy their minds. If you are sensitive, you will listen sympathetically for a period of time, then propose you all change the subject to something more upbeat -- and suggest something.

Read more in: Friends & Neighbors | Health & Safety