DEAR ABBY: My parents separated nearly 20 years ago. My father, who is retired, has been living alone for many years. I suspect he gets scammed for money on the internet. I know for sure it has happened twice. I have talked to him about it more than once. He routinely forwards me emails to check if they are legitimate. However, I think he falls for romance scams and is too embarrassed to tell me about it. He isn't going to be unable to pay his bills or go into debt, but I'm still concerned. Should I do more, even though it may be very uncomfortable for us both? — CONCERNED SON IN NOVA SCOTIA
DEAR SON: If you think your father has fallen for romance scams in the past, you should have more discussions with him about how prevalent they are and what to watch out for. Do not personalize it if you think it might embarrass him, but do mention the danger of sending money to someone he might know only online. Do some research. If you think this is what may be happening, forward your findings to him after the discussion.
DEAR ABBY: I am 60 years old and married. Every time we see my wife's family, her parents pressure me to buy a car. (Our old one got totaled.) We don't leave the house often except for exercise, and our daughter delivers our groceries to us.
Because I got sick of the nagging, I purchased a 9-year-old vehicle. When I brought it home, my wife began griping incessantly about my choice. She didn't like it and wanted to return it, so I did.
The next time we saw her parents, we told them we didn't need a car and we're happy without one. It made them very upset. Every time we have seen them since, they continue to pester me about it. What should I do about this infuriating situation? — NO CAR IN ALABAMA
DEAR NO CAR: Understand that your in-laws probably mean well, but do not allow yourself to be dragged into an argument about your decision. Tell them you do not wish to discuss it further and, if they persist, see them less often — much less often.
DEAR ABBY: I have a wonderful neighbor who loves to give me beautifully arranged bouquets of flowers. The problem is, although I appreciate her very much, I do not enjoy receiving flowers because I don't like seeing them die. My husband knows this. Also, I don't have enough room for all the vases. I'm not unappreciative, but I don't know how to let her know I no longer want flowers as gifts. I would like to be as tactful as possible without hurting her feelings. Please help. — OVERWHELMED IN ARIZONA
DEAR OVERWHELMED: Invite your generous neighbor to lunch and give her a small gift. (Candy, perhaps.) During the lunch thank her for her kindness and praise her for her flower arranging talent, but add that watching them die depresses you, and to please stop. Ask if she would like you to return her vases you have collected, and if she says yes, have them boxed and ready to give her after the lunch. If she refuses your offer, find out if a neighborhood florist can use them. If not, recycle or toss them.
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.)