DEAR ABBY: I have always been a curious and motivated person. Because of it, I pursued higher education and became a college professor. Most of my siblings have also gone to college. However, their significant others have varying levels of education.
I like to think of myself as a nice person, but my siblings have let me know that when I converse with their partners, I often come across as patronizing. Do these partners need to be less sensitive, or do I need to be more so? -- THE GOOD PROFESSOR
DEAR PROF: If only one of your siblings had told you that you often come across as patronizing, I'd say his or her partner might be overly sensitive. However, because more than one has said it, it's time for a self-check. Book smarts are an undeniable asset, but sensitivity to others can be even more important. If you talk down to people, no matter how "smart" you are, eventually they will run away from you.
Do you feel compelled to "correct" those whom you know to have less education than you? Do you speak in polysyllables when a few simple words will do? If the answers to these questions are affirmative, you need to be more socially sensitive when you're with your family -- and possibly when you're in the classroom as well.