DEAR ABBY: I live in an apartment and recently had a serious leak come through my bathroom ceiling. I called maintenance and texted my upstairs neighbor, who asked me when they were coming. I responded that I didn't know and I wasn't sure whether they'd have to go up to her apartment or not.
Well, they went to her apartment first. She was VERY upset and messaged me a dozen more times to let me know how stressed she was, that she was crying and afraid she would get evicted from her apartment because she has a dog she failed to put on her lease. She ended by saying "next time" I should let her know in advance. Abby, I DID let her know. But I guess she wants more notice next time she causes an emergency, so she'll have more time to hide her dog.
So — I'm supposed to let my apartment get more water damage to give her time to hide an animal she should've put on her lease years ago and be paying pet rent for? I feel like she was trying to make me feel bad when she's the one who is wrong for being irresponsible. Why do I have to cater to her needs first? Should I feel bad? — LEAKY MESS IN THE WEST
DEAR LEAKY MESS: You do not have to accept the guilt trip your neighbor laid on you or "cater" to her. You handled the situation appropriately and have nothing to apologize for. When the "good neighbor policy" was written, she must have been out to lunch.
DEAR ABBY: I got COVID from a friend who came to our book club even though her husband was ill. When she texted us a few days later about his positive test, I told her I was now sick. She called and left a message that she felt bad if she had given me COVID, but she has shown no concern since. I have had long-term COVID chest pain for three months, but she's never sent a card or called to see how I am. I reached out to her several times and even brought her a birthday gift, but she doesn't seem to care that I'm not well. It's awkward because we're neighbors and in several groups together. How can I save this friendship? — RECOVERING IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR RECOVERING: How can YOU save this friendship? Lady, YOU are the injured party. This woman may be a neighbor, but she isn't acting like a friend. Call her and clear the air about how the situation has made you feel. When you see her, be civil and keep your distance. If she had been less self- centered, she wouldn't have exposed you and the other book club members to what her husband had — even if it was "only" a common cold.
DEAR ABBY: What are the three most important things parents should instill in their children in their formative years? — WONDERING IN ARIZONA
DEAR WONDERING: In my opinion, the three most important things would be empathy, that they are loved and curiosity.
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.)