DEAR ABBY: My future son-in-law recently moved in with us for financial reasons. He's 27 and a nice guy, but he's a habitual knuckle-cracker. He cracks every finger of each hand twice (back and forth) every half-hour or so. He also cracks his neck and wrists, but less frequently. As an added bonus, my daughter is also beginning to crack her knuckles now.
I am sensitive to noise (loud chewing, gum cracking), but I don't want to cause him more stress (he's also a nail-biter), so I keep my mouth shut. It's driving me crazy! What do you suggest? -- PATTY IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR PATTY: Knuckle-cracking, like nail-biting, is a nervous habit that has been known to defuse anxiety. While it may be crazy-making to listen to, unless it's a symptom of an underlying nervous disorder, the practice is relatively harmless. (In some people, it has caused swelling of the joints or swelling of the hands, so mention that to your daughter.)
Because you are sensitive to noises -- which your daughter should already know -- talk to her and her fiance and ask that when the impulse strikes, they walk out of earshot. Because they are living under your roof, they should respect your request.