DEAR ABBY: I have a good friend I'll call Josie. She's kind, generous and always willing to help. There is only one problem — she lies.
The lies she tells are ridiculous. I find myself getting more and more angry as she stumbles through her stories. If someone makes a comment, she takes over the conversation and we hear a looong story about the same thing happening to her but much worse. I could say I climbed Mount Everest and Josie would say she climbed it twice.
What can I say or do to get her to stop lying? I'm so tired of it I'm thinking of quietly ending my friendship with her. — TRUTH WINS IN TENNESSEE
DEAR TRUTH WINS: One person trying to convince her to stop probably won't do the trick. Josie won't quit lying until she finally hears it from others and realizes that it isn't achieving the desired effect, which is standing front and center in the spotlight.
Tell Josie that what she's doing is infuriating and that she's doing herself no favors. Realize it will probably be part of a farewell speech rather than an opportunity for a new beginning.
DEAR ABBY: I can't travel too far by myself because I'm agoraphobic. I'm having my house painted, and I asked my brother if he could pick up some paint because I needed more. He brought the paint to me and I reimbursed him. He then accused me of being needy and using him because I mentioned I was short on gas money for the trip.
Abby, when I ask him to do things for me, I pay him 90% of the time. I don't ask for his help often, but that time, he argued with me about gas money. Needless to say, I gave him $20.
My brother isn't struggling financially. He has money. He's supposed to be a deacon in his church and calls himself a good Christian. He really hurt my feelings, and he said other mean things about my health issues. What should I do about this? — IN NEED IN THE EAST
DEAR IN NEED: Your brother may have been in a bad mood the day you asked him for the favor. Have you told him that he hurt your feelings? If you didn't, rather than nurse hurt feelings, clear the air. If this has happened more than once, find a "better" Christian to ask.
DEAR ABBY: This letter is for people who are involved with folks who say they are separated. If you have feelings for someone who is separated, ASK when they plan on getting divorced. If they come up with excuses like there are children involved, property disputes or they can't afford a lawyer, end the relationship immediately.
Do not start dating or sleeping with a separated person. They can easily return to their spouse, leaving you high and dry (or pregnant, if you're female). Just remain friends until they are divorced, and afterward proceed with any relationship you two desire.
Bottom line: "Separated" means STILL MARRIED. While I'm not in this situation, I have known several people who were, and they regretted it. — WORD OF WARNING IN VIRGINIA
DEAR WORD: That's pragmatic advice, and I hope readers will heed your warning. As anyone who has read my column knows, I have printed countless letters from heartbroken readers who wasted time and energy on partners who weren't free.
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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