ABBY is an acknowledged phenomenon of contemporary journalism.
With a daily readership of more than 95 million, the column
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DEAR ABBY, a.k.a. Jeanne Phillips. DEAR ABBY is the symbol
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SISTER KEEPS SCORE FOR GAME SIBLING WON'T PLAY
ABBY: My older sister "Jane" and I used to be close.
She married 10 years ago, and her husband has done very
well. Jane is a stay-at-home mom with three children.
She and her husband recently purchased a million-dollar
home in the wealthy area of our city. I took a different
path, and now work full time in an industry I love. I
enjoy life with my husband and two children. We have a
lovely house in the suburbs.
whenever Jane and I are together -- whether it's alone
or in public -- she has become aggressive about comparing
our lifestyles. Although I wish Jane well, she has paid
a high price for her affluence. I am not, nor have I ever
been, jealous of her status. I have tried to convince
her of this, but she tunes me out and continues her monologue
about her nanny, housekeeper, new cottage, etc. I'm sure
you get the picture. I have almost come to the point where
I don't want to see her anymore.
guide me through this, Abby. I am annoyed and frustrated.
How shall I handle this in the future? -- YOUNGER SIS
YOUNGER SIS: You can't change other people, but you
can change the way you react to them.
your sister "married well," she appears to be insecure
and insensitive to the feelings of others. That is pitiable,
not enviable. When she starts spouting off, bear that
in mind and don't take the bait. It may help you to be
more tolerant of her.
ABBY: I must reply to the letter you reprinted recently
from the irate mother whose 16-year-old son received a
birthday card from his grandparent with a note enclosed,
telling him he was getting only the card -- but no money
that year -- because he had failed to send a thank-you
note for the money he had been given the year before.
You told the mother that you thought the grandmother had
given the young man a birthday gift far more valuable
disagree. One of my greatest pleasures is giving gifts.
However, whenever I do so, I must be absolutely certain
that it is, in fact, a gift. That means I expect nothing
in return -- not even a thank-you. A gift should be given
for no other reason than the joy of giving. It should
be a celebration of the fact that you have someone to
give to. -- GORDON READE, PALO ALTO, CALIF.
GORDON: I have received a blitz of mail about that
letter, and the "reviews" are running 50-50 regarding
whether my answer was correct. Perhaps I should have elaborated
children the social graces may not be fun for a parent,
but it is a duty, because those skills -- or the lack
of them -- will affect the way those children are regarded
for the rest of their lives. Failure to teach them is
a disservice to the children.
thank-you letters is a skill that must be learned and
honed. It doesn't come "naturally." When a gift -- or
a kind gesture, for that matter -- goes unacknowledged,
it indicates that the recipient thought so little of it
that it wasn't even a blip on the radar screen. It sends
a terrible message about the manners, sensitivity and
upbringing of the person who received the gift.