Dear Abby: I hope my sister doesn’t pass along her lying habit to her children

She makes up stories so bizarre, they’re cringe-worthy.

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DEAR ABBY: I’m at a loss about how to deal with my sister, “Julie.” We had an incredibly hard childhood. We lost our mother when she was only 48. My issue with Julie is her constant and blatant storytelling. She has two young children and is recently divorced. While I feel terrible about her situation and have gladly been there to help her, her lies drive me up the wall.

The things she makes up are so bizarre, they make me cringe. She’s obvious about it, and it screams red flags. I’m a proud aunt to my niece and nephew, and I do not want them to pick up this habit from her. I know Julie wouldn’t be willing to admit she has a problem, because she becomes extremely defensive when faced with anything she needs to work on. What can I do? — UNSURE IN UTAH

DEAR UNSURE: There is nothing you can do to help someone with a problem they refuse to admit they have, but there may be something you can do to help her children. Model honest behavior, admit when you make a mistake, praise them when they emulate you and call them on it when you catch them in a lie. Then hope it will help them learn not to manipulate others. If their father is in the picture, let’s pray he can be a positive influence on them as well.

DEAR ABBY: My fiancee moved back in with me after living somewhere else for five months. She brought with her a puppy that will grow into a 50- to 75-pound dog. I made it clear to her that I wasn’t into raising a dog in my cramped space. She says she wants a house dog, but I think she wants an excuse to be homebound. How can I convince her that the consequences may end our relationship? — NO WAY IN NORTH CAROLINA

DEAR NO WAY: Why was your fiancee living “elsewhere” for five months? Why did you allow her to move back in with a dog if you didn’t want one in your cramped space? A 50- to 75-pound dog needs exercise and a yard. It sounds like your place has neither. Unless you want a stay-at-home wife and a large dog, draw the line NOW. If you don’t communicate in plain English, your fiancee will continue to ignore your wishes and walk all over you. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

DEAR ABBY: In your opinion, what would be a good way of responding to folks who email you saying “love you” or “I love you” when the sender is acknowledging a birthday? For instance, without going into specifics, I’ll send a text to the second wife of a close relative (a congratulatory happy birthday greeting), and she always responds, “Love you!” I don’t love this woman, and I find it hard to respond that I love her too, when I don’t. — UNCOMFORTABLE OUT WEST

DEAR UNCOMFORTABLE: Another way to respond would be to write, “Back at ya!” while resolutely fighting the urge to express that you DON’T love her, too. A simple “Thanks!” also would be appropriate.

TO MY READERS: For those who celebrate Easter, I wish you all a very meaningful and memorable day. Happy Easter, everyone! — LOVE, ABBY

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.

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in “What Every Teen Should Know.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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