DEAR ABBY: I work with a wonderful older woman. She is smart and funny, and comes to work with a positive attitude. Unfortunately, she smells of cat urine. It’s really bad — to the point I have moved out of our shared office, and there are plans to move her into her own office. However, that may be months off. She still has office mates, and she’s in kind of a “hub.”
She lives alone with two dogs and an unknown (to me) number of cats. Her children are grown but don’t live nearby. How can I kindly address this with her? I don’t want to hurt her feelings, but something has got to give. I have let management know, but they are reluctant to address this. — NOSE KNOWS IN THE SOUTH
DEAR NOSE: It is not your job to address this problem with your co-worker. It is management’s responsibility. Because you have complained and nothing was done, it’s time for the others who are affected by the odor to address management about it COLLECTIVELY.
DEAR ABBY: My husband’s best friend remarried a couple of years ago, and the new wife, “Jane,” is a handful. When we get together, she’s as free-spirited and open as you can get, sexually. She hangs on her husband like a magnet, grabbing at him provocatively and letting everyone know anything and everything about her sexual attraction and their sex life.
At first it was funny, since they were newlyweds and all, but it isn’t funny any longer. Frankly, it’s nauseating. I would like to get together more often, minus the X-rated show. I’m concerned that if I say something (and everyone knows I don’t usually bite my tongue), it will cause a major rift between all of us. I don’t want to keep my husband from his best friend. Any advice? — MATURE ONE IN INDIANA
DEAR MATURE ONE: When Jane’s behavior presents itself, ask her to tone it down because it makes you uncomfortable. If that doesn’t work, the only guaranteed way for Jane’s antics to not bother you will be for you to encourage your husband to socialize separately with his best friend so you see Jane as little as possible.
DEAR ABBY: I am a gay man. A few weeks ago, a neighbor I became close to confided to me that her husband is homophobic. When she said he wasn’t comfortable around me, I agreed with her that it was best to give them both space and discontinue our friendship. Then her husband approached me and apologized. He told me he is not homophobic, and he wants to be friends, so I decided to forgive.
Lately, he has been trying to include me in his friend group within the neighborhood. I appreciate it, but part of me in all honesty is a bit afraid. Not knowing what he may have mentioned to his friends and how they may treat me has me worried. Should I try and be friends with them and try to repair the friendship? Or should I let it go? — OUT AND PROUD IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR OUT AND PROUD: I’d hate to see you isolate yourself. Integrating the neighborhood would be beneficial to all. Give it a try, gauge the way these individuals treat you and make your final decision then.
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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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