DEAR ABBY: My mother calls me all the time. I answer sometimes, but sometimes I don’t because I feel she wants to know too much about my life.
I work full time with the public. When I get home, I’m tired. I have talked to people all day long, and I really don’t feel like entertaining her.
My mother tends to be negative, snotty and, most of the time, offensive. If there’s a storm or an accident on the news, she calls me repeatedly until I call back. Who wants to call someone back who acts that way?
I try to be positive and upbeat. Sometimes she drains my energy. Do you have any advice for me? — PUT OFF IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST
DEAR PUT OFF: Yes. Explain to your mother that at the end of the day you don’t have the energy to carry on a lengthy conversation with her. It wouldn’t be rude; it’s the truth. If she calls because she’s worried that the bad news she hears in the media could be about you, tell her that you have her listed as someone to contact if there is an emergency. Continue to be positive and upbeat, and stop hiding from your mother.
DEAR ABBY: Would you please say a few words to those discourteous individuals in the gym who, even at 6 a.m., think it’s all right to sit on a piece of exercise equipment, texting, while others wait to complete their weight-training workouts and get to work? — TED ON THE EAST COAST
DEAR TED: The first rule of basic etiquette ANYwhere is to show consideration for the people around you. This applies not only to gym-goers who hog the equipment while texting, but also to the ones who carry on extended conversations while straddling the treadmill, sitting on equipment others are waiting to use, and failing to wipe away the perspiration they dripped on the machines while they were exercising.
Oh! And let’s not overlook those who slather on perfume before going to the gym, despite the fact that as one sweats the odor is magnified — or worse, people who “forget” to use deodorant. (Have I covered it all?)
DEAR ABBY: I am 13 and the only job I have is baby-sitting. My brother and his girlfriend ask me to baby-sit their two kids, ages 9 and 6. They haven’t paid me for the last five times I’ve watched them. They say I should do it for free because it’s my niece and nephew. Shouldn’t I get paid? What should I do? Shouldn’t they pay me for the other times before I watch them again? — WORKING TEEN IN IOWA
DEAR TEEN: If you had another way of earning money, I would say that, yes, you should watch your niece and nephew occasionally without charging. However, if your brother and his girlfriend agreed to pay in the past and have suddenly stopped, they are taking advantage of you. If that’s the case, you have the right to deny your services until you receive what they owe.
A word of advice: This will happen less often if you communicate in advance that you charge for baby-sitting, how much you want to be paid and you expect that to happen at the time of service.
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 http://www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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