Dear Abby: Amazing friend has a flaw — he says and does humiliating things

Some people have walked out of his life because of his lack of sensitivity.

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DEAR ABBY: I have a longtime friend who is an amazing person. He has almost every positive attribute anyone could want — he’s smart, hardworking, successful, strong and athletic, fit and attractive, generous, witty, etc.

His only flaw is a big one. He lacks empathy and is sometimes very insensitive. Over the years, on a number of occasions, he has said or done things that left me feeling humiliated. He doesn’t seem to understand that it isn’t how generous you were to them, people remember how you make them FEEL.

He has few real friends who can tolerate him, and some have walked out of his life. I’m on the verge of doing the same thing. How can I get him to change his behavior before it is too late? (We are both older men.) — HUMILIATED IN ALBUQUERQUE

DEAR HUMILIATED: Point out to this person that, more than once, he has said or done things that made you feel humiliated. While you’re at it, mention that this unpleasant trait is what has caused “Tom,” “Dick,” “Harry,” “Sleepy” and “Grumpy” to walk out of his life. Then tell him you no longer intend to allow it to happen to you, and if it happens again, you will join the others.

DEAR ABBY: My co-workers and I want to know how to handle customers who ask us out. We are an all-female staff at a liquor store, and our job is kind of like being a bartender without pouring drinks. Our customers are happy to see us after a long day at work and sometimes misinterpret our excellent customer service skills as flirting and ask us out.

It is sometimes a very uncomfortable situation because we are paid to be kind and don’t know how to say no without causing a loss of business for our company or possibly putting ourselves in a dangerous situation. Can you give us some guidance on how to delicately handle these moments? — ON THE JOB IN MISSOURI

DEAR ON THE JOB: A polite turndown to the invitation would be, “Thank you for the compliment, but I never date a customer. It’s against the rules.”

DEAR ABBY: I am looking for advice about whether I’m violating any ethics while walking my dogs. I walk my two dogs almost every day so the dogs can perform their business. I always pick up what they leave behind, as I don’t like having any dog’s business left on my lawn. During these walks, I pass trash containers on the street that belong to my neighbors. Sometimes I place my dog’s business in their trash containers. Since my walks are long, it’s not convenient to carry the used bags all the way home. Is this wrong to do? — DOGGY BUSINESS

DEAR DOGGY: What you are doing is a big no-no. Many homeowners feel as territorial about their trash receptacles as you do your lawn. If you think I’m exaggerating, let a few of those homeowners catch you in the act. Readers, do you agree with me? One of my staff members feels that if the container is on the curb awaiting pickup, there is no harm.

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.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order “How to Have a Lovely Wedding.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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