DEAR ABBY: I need help dealing with a neighbor problem. “Diane” and I have been neighbors for five years. We both have daughters in elementary school who ride the bus.
At the bus stop, Diane always manages to point out something about my daughter or me that makes me uncomfortable. She’ll ask things like, “Are those new shoes?” “I like that jacket. Was it expensive?” “You have a new hairdo; did it cost much?” Or “Wow, how can you afford such nice clothes for your daughter?” “Are those new jeans? How much were they?”
I find her prying annoying and quite rude. Most of the other parents avoid her, probably because of this behavior. I work to afford the things I have, and I don’t feel I need to discuss what I spend for my child or myself with anyone. Other than this, she’s a nice neighbor. What’s the best way to get her to stop asking these questions? I try to ignore them, but this has been going on for years, and I’m at a loss. — ANNOYED IN NORTH CAROLINA
DEAR ANNOYED: The surest way to get your neighbor to stop asking these kinds of questions would be the direct approach. Tell her questions of that nature make you uncomfortable and to please stop asking. If she persists, repeat it until she finally gets the message.
DEAR ABBY: I am trying hard to let go of my paralyzing fear of driving, which has prevented me from getting a license. I am not sure why I get so nervous and afraid when I get behind the wheel. I really need a car to get my family and myself around. I just wish I knew what was causing this. Could you please help me figure it out? — FEAR OF DRIVING
DEAR F.O.D.: Gladly. The quickest way to get to the bottom of what’s causing your fear of driving would be to discuss it with a licensed mental health professional — if possible, one who specializes in treating patients with phobias. Your physician or your health insurance company should be able to refer you to someone who is qualified.
DEAR ABBY: A few months ago, my wife and I invited another couple over for dinner. The husband was on his phone the entire time, showing us YouTube videos he apparently thought were interesting. After dinner, he lamented that he had run out of data and wanted us to provide our Wi-Fi password so he could continue watching his videos. I begrudgingly gave him access, but was really irked by it. Isn’t it rude for a dinner guest to ask to use your Wi-Fi? — NOT SO INTERESTED
DEAR NOT SO INTERESTED: It was not rude to ask for your Wi-Fi password. In some circles, it’s normal. What WAS rude was for one guest to monopolize the conversation the way that dinner guest did. I’ll bet it will be a long time before you invite that couple again.
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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