Dear Abby: When neighbors are acting like thieves

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DEAR ABBY: I have a neighbor, “Mrs. Smith,” whom I see often in the yard of some other neighbors, “the Joneses,” when they are not home. I have seen Mrs. Smith pick vegetables from their garden and take them to her house, and Mr. Smith connect extension cords that run to the couple’s home in the winter months when the owners are away. The Smiths are at least in their 60s and well off.

While it’s possible the Joneses don’t mind sharing their garden and electricity with this couple, it does seem unusual. We have security cameras in our yard to discourage the Smiths from coming onto our property.

Should I tell the Joneses about these people and, if so, what would be the best way to approach the subject? Or should I just mind my own business?

I would consider someone a good neighbor if they told me someone was coming onto my property like this, but I can’t assume that others feel the same way — especially since they seem friendly toward each other and share a property line. What would a good neighbor do? — NEIGHBORLY IN NORTH DAKOTA

DEAR NEIGHBORLY: A good neighbor does unto others as he/she would like them to do unto him/her. The next time you see the Joneses, casually mention what you have observed, suggest they might want to check their electric bill and let them take it from there — or not.

DEAR ABBY: I’m a 17-year-old girl and my boyfriend is the same age. We have been together for five months and I don’t know what to do because he’s so jealous. If I log on to Facebook, he gets angry. If I go to the park with my parents, he gets mad.

Two days ago, he said he wanted to see my phone. When I told him to show me his phone, too, he refused. He said only he can check my phone. What should I do? — DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO IN IOWA

DEAR DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO: What you should do is dump this insecure, controlling boy immediately. What he’s doing isn’t flattering and it isn’t normal.

While his possessiveness may have seemed like a compliment in the beginning, for your own emotional —and possibly physical — well-being, break things off now. And if he doesn’t back off, get your parents involved.

DEAR ABBY: My husband is in his 80s and I’m in my 70s. We have a traditional marriage. Each of us has our own responsibilities around the house.

I wish I could take off the months of November, December, January and February to sit and read and do less. He does blow snow occasionally, but that’s it. I still have the house to clean and laundry, ironing and cooking to do. How is this fair? And why do women put up with this? — GETTING MORE TIRED BY THE WEEK

DEAR GETTING: It isn’t fair. And only you can answer why you have put up with it all these years. If you are unhappy with the division of labor in November, December, January and February, then negotiate a new labor contract. Begin with the premise, “each according to his ability … and YOUR NEED.”

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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