Bargain hunter's bragging tries her friend's patience

DEAR ABBY: I have a friend I'll call Rose who likes to brag about how cheap she is. Sometimes when we're talking, she will interrupt me and ask, "How do you like my pants? I got them for a dollar at a yard sale." Or she'll say, "I got them for free."

Rose likes to draw attention to herself every time she wears something new by asking how I like it. Then she will tell me where she got it and how much it cost. I couldn't be less interested, and I'm tired of hearing about her tacky, cheap clothes.

We go to a water aerobics class together, and she will interrupt the class to ask how they like her "sexy" bathing suit. Abby, Rose is in her 70s and not sexy. I like her as a friend, but I am about ready to tell her to shut up! I don't want to be mean. How can I get across that I don't want to hear about her clothes?


DEAR TIRED: If you say nothing, "Second Hand Rose" will continue her line of chatter. Try this: Say, "Rose, honey, you know how much I like you, but I wish you would stop talking about your wardrobe with me. You are interesting on so many other levels, and I'm just not into fashion." Then cross your fingers and hope your friend gets the message.

DEAR ABBY: Our friend's adult daughter has been dating a guy my friend does not approve of for about three years. The daughter moved in with him, and afterward one evening, told my husband and me. We are friends of her mom, but we agreed to say nothing because we didn't want to get in the middle, and it wasn't our news to tell.

The daughter recently told her mother (our friend) that she and the guy are living together and that we knew. Now her mom is no longer talking to us or to her daughter. Is there a way we could have handled it differently? Is there any way I can repair the situation?


DEAR MISSING: Your friend's daughter may be an adult chronologically, but she doesn't act like one. She should not have kept her living arrangement from her mother and shouldn't have asked you to keep the secret. Then she compounded it by betraying you.

In hindsight, you should have told the daughter immediately that the way to keep a secret is to tell NO ONE, especially a close friend of her mother's, and encouraged her to level with her mom. And as to how to repair the breach — all you can do is continue apologizing and hope that eventually your friend's fury will dissipate.

DEAR ABBY: I have a delicate problem with my boss at work. He seems to have a problem with constantly touching his crotch area (scratching, holding or laying a hand on it). I am not sure if it is a nervous thing or a problem. How should I address this without making matters worse for either myself or him?


DEAR SARAH: I wish you had mentioned whether other employees also see him do this. If they do and any of them are male, it might be less embarrassing for your boss if that employee would mention to him that others are noticing. However, if you are the only employee who sees him, then the most tactful way to handle it would be to keep your gaze resolutely above his beltline.


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