DEAR ABBY: I'm a 26-year-old single man. Most of my good friends are getting married, and when they do, they stop speaking to me. I have a hard time not resenting them for it. It makes me feel my company was a placeholder until they got married, and I'm not worth keeping around now that they have what they really want. It makes me feel like a second-class citizen.
Is this typical behavior or am I right to feel slighted? If you have any advice for someone in my situation, I'd appreciate it. — PLACEHOLDER IN THE EAST
DEAR PLACEHOLDER: You may be taking this too personally. When people marry, their interests and their social schedules change. They tend to socialize with other newlyweds, which may be why you see less of them.
There could be many reasons why you are no longer included — among them that they don't want you to feel like the odd man out. Make sure they know that won't be the case, you still value their friendship and you would love to get together with them. That may prompt them to include you more often. Also, make a point of staying active and putting yourself in social situations where you can meet some new single friends.
DEAR ABBY: I have had a chronic illness for 15 years. It has a myriad of symptoms that are very painful. While some of them are fleeting, others last for weeks.
My family is angry with me because they say I am not dependable. It seems like every conversation requires some sort of explanation or apology. My husband is supportive, so our household is calm and reassuring. He says I should stop communicating with these relatives because the negativity is depressing and demoralizing. How can I get them to accept me as I am? — ANONYMOUS IN AMERICA
DEAR ANONYMOUS: You can't force people who have no empathy to have it. For whatever reason, it isn't in their DNA. You can, however, take care of YOURSELF. If seeing or talking with your relatives leaves you feeling worse, it would make sense to follow your husband's advice.
DEAR ABBY: I'm a woman with a situation I've never seen addressed in your column. Most adult identical twins do not go out of their way to look 100% alike. They'll style their hair differently, groom facial hair differently or dress differently.
I attend a church where two middle-aged women appear to have missed that memo. They wear the same hairstyle, the same glasses and nearly identical clothes. This makes me tend to avoid them because I'm embarrassed to admit I have no clue as to which one I'm talking to. Please give me your input. — SEEING DOUBLE IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR SEEING DOUBLE: Rather than allow the inability to distinguish between the twins cause you to shun them, why not explain your problem? If you do, perhaps they can suggest a way you can identify them as individuals. As you interact with them, you may also notice characteristics that will help you tell who's who.
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.)