Dear Abby: I’m neglecting work to read Abby and her ilk

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DEAR ABBY: I live in Dubai and started reading advice columns around 10 years ago. I find them fascinating as they give me insight into the lives of people who live in different cultures and have very different ways of thinking. I have learned a great deal from these columns and am often impressed with not just the advice, but also the language used in asking and answering.

Because I enjoy them so much, I spend a lot of time every day reading. Some days I pore through the archives, and before I know it, it’s time to go home from work.

When I don’t have much work to do in the office, it’s easy. But lately I have been procrastinating and only finishing tasks just before they are due.

I’m fortunate that I work quickly and my work has not been affected negatively yet, but still, this doesn’t seem right. Could you please help me overcome this obsession? Thank you. — ADDICTED IN DUBAI

DEAR ADDICTED: I agree there is a lot to be learned by reading about the problems and solutions that others have. However, you have gone overboard and need to step on the brakes. Some addicts can manage their addiction by rationing their exposure, while others need to quit cold turkey.

Many companies and employers periodically review what their employees do on their computers during work hours, and people have been fired when employers realize they are devoting little time and energy to the tasks at hand.

If you want to spend evenings and weekends entertaining yourself by reading advice columns, no one can argue with it. But from where I sit, you are being unfair to your boss, and indulging in your addiction during work hours could cost you your job.

DEAR ABBY: Recently, we were finishing up the details on my brother’s wedding. He’s marrying a wedding planner who has a very rigid vision of what she wants.

One of these ideas is mixing and matching bridesmaids dresses. All the bridesmaids were asked to find their own gowns in either one of the wedding colors, which was a creative and cute approach.

The problem is, the bride has now requested that extended family members not wear the wedding colors so the bridal party will stand out. Several people took offense and felt “excluded.” I always thought this was a rule of etiquette, but others seemed unaware.

Is it OK for the bride to make this request? And shouldn’t others be OK with it? — BEWILDERED BRIDESMAID

DEAR BEWILDERED: The answers to your questions are yes, and yes.

The bride’s request is a simple one. Unless the people who took offense were upset because they aren’t a part of the wedding party — which is their problem and not the bride’s — no one should have been offended. The malcontents should try to comply to the extent that they can and not rain on the bride’s parade.

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 order “How to Write Letters for All Occasions,” send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby — Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.

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