DEAR ABBY: A friend of mine is a pretty fair oil painter. She occasionally sells one. I would like to buy a painting she recently finished. She quoted me a price, but phrased it as a question, "Does $— sound OK?" Would it be rude if I offered her less than that for the painting? — BETTER OFFER IN THE WEST
DEAR BETTER OFFER: No, it would not be rude. It's common for buyers to negotiate the price of art objects. It is done all the time, and she shouldn't take offense if you offer her what you think is a fair price. Remember, if she doesn't agree, she can make a counteroffer.
DEAR ABBY: I'm currently in a mental hospital. I have been in and out for years because of suicide attempts and drug use. My drug of choice is crystal meth, and it has been a vicious cycle.
I'm 19 and will be 20 soon. I would like to share my story with your readers, young and old, who may feel lost or alone. I was sexually abused and have prostituted myself for drugs when I was desperate. I'm going through intensive treatment now. When I was at my lowest, my family looked the other way.
What I want to tell people is to get help if they are contemplating suicide. I want them to know their lives are valuable. I struggle with hallucinations, and it's scary at times. But no matter what we go through in life, we must remember that we were built to be resilient. I believe in our strength. Thanks, Abby. — OVERCOMING IN WISCONSIN
DEAR OVERCOMING: I believe in your strength as well, and I'm glad that you are getting treatment. Recovery from addiction can be a daily challenge, which takes courage and determination. You appear to have both.
I am printing your letter because it carries an important message for anyone who is feeling suicidal. The phone number of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 800-273-8255, and it is toll-free.
DEAR ABBY: I work in close quarters with two women. They often talk politics, and I am very aware of their views. They asked me if I was voting in the midterms, and I answered in the affirmative, but offered no details as my vote is my personal business.
Since then, I have been told, "You are part of the problem." "People like you " and, "It must be nice to not care." I don't know how to respond to these hurtful comments, which make me feel terrible. It makes me extremely uncomfortable, and I don't think it's appropriate to discuss this at work in the first place.
I am not sure how to handle this if it continues. I don't want these women to hate me. I respect them, but this is a sensitive topic. — NOT THE PLACE
DEAR NOT THE PLACE: I agree that, for the most part, discussing politics in the workplace is inappropriate because there are bound to be disagreements, which are not conducive to a pleasant environment. Hopefully, now that the midterms are behind us, the hostility will die down — at least for a while.
If it persists, TELL your co-workers that what they are doing is hurtful and you want them to stop. And if they don't, then discuss it with your supervisor or employer because what they are doing is creating a hostile working environment.
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.
To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable — and most frequently requested — poems and essays, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby — Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.