Dear Abby: Adult offspring say no to mom’s demand for info

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DEAR ABBY: At what point does a parent no longer have the right to know who their child’s friends are?

I have three grown daughters, all on their own, living on the other side of the country. During a recent visit home for their grandmother’s birthday, I asked each of them to give me all of their friends’ phone numbers, in case I couldn’t reach them. I also wanted to know who they were exactly, how well they knew them, etc. I was simply thinking of their safety. If I can’t reach my girls, I want to know who might have seen them last and, if need be, give that information to the police.

Abby, all three of them told me NO! They said they are grown women and can take care of themselves, and besides, if, God forbid, they didn’t want to answer their phone when I called, I sure as h— didn’t need to be pestering their friends. They say they are adults, and that we (their dad and I) no longer have the right to “dictate” who they are friends with.

I say I’m their mother and no matter how old they get, I will ALWAYS have the right to know who they are friends with. I would appreciate your thoughts. — RENEE IN OREGON

DEAR RENEE: I agree that you are their mother, but you are not your daughters’ parole officer. They are self-supporting, self-sufficient adults. Perhaps if you were less overbearing, your daughters would be living closer, would answer their phones more often when you call and would open up to you about their friendships. Frankly, I think you should apologize for giving them such a heavy-handed third degree.

DEAR ABBY: My wife and I had dinner with some other couples at an elegant, white linen tablecloth restaurant. After the meals were brought to the table, someone said, “We need to pray.” In this quiet, candlelit setting, a “Bless us, oh Lord …” was spoken aloud by most of the people in our party, causing heads to turn at a number of nearby tables. Undoubtedly, the din sounded like chanting.

I was embarrassed. Please understand, we are religious and we pray aloud in church, but not in restaurants. I have seen people bow their heads and pray privately, which seems more appropriate. Is there a rule of etiquette about praying in a restaurant? — SILENTLY PRAYING FOR ADVICE

DEAR SILENTLY PRAYING: Yes, there is. In restaurants, praying should be done quietly and inconspicuously to avoid distracting other diners.

DEAR ABBY: I love my friends and enjoy going out to dinner, and attending plays and movies with them. However, something really annoys me. My husband and I are usually early, and when we go to the movies, our friends ask us to pick up the tickets if we arrive first. After the movie we’ll grab a bite to eat and at the end of the evening say goodbye. The question is, how do we ask them for the money we laid out for the tickets if they forget to offer it? This has happened three times with different friends, and we’re out the money. — ANNOYED IN TEANECK

DEAR ANNOYED: There are a couple of ways to do it: As you hand the tickets over, you might say, “That’ll be $20, please.” But if that’s uncomfortable for you, the following day, you or your husband should call these “forgetful” friends and ask them to send you a check.

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.

To receive a collection of Abby’s most memorable — and most frequently requested — poems and essays, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby — Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.

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