DEAR ABBY: I'm about to move out of a condo I have shared for two years with a roommate I'll call "Carly." Her parents own it, and I'm leaving because Carly's sister, "Heather," is moving in soon to attend school. Carly is supposed to look out for Heather and teach her how to live on her own because Heather has some mental challenges.
In the two years I have lived with Carly, she has been mostly absent. She often leaves for days at a time without telling me. I hope this will change when her sister moves in.
Carly is also very promiscuous. She's always with one guy or another, and occasionally intimate with more than one at a time. Through closed doors and over a blaring TV I have overheard her and her boyfriends going at it but accepted it as part of normal college life. I fear Heather will be mortified to hear what I have heard.
I don't think Carly knows she has been overheard. Should I warn her when I move out? Or should I not mention it and hope she's a better role model for Heather when she arrives?
— ALMOST EX-ROOMIE IN NEW HAMPSHIRE
DEAR ALMOST EX: By all means warn Carly. Had you done so the first time the noise bothered you, living there would have been less embarrassing for you. But at the same time you should also have a chat with Carly's parents. The responsibility they are placing on her is a serious one, and it doesn't appear Carly is up to shouldering it.
A better solution for Heather would be for her to be in a program where certified teachers can help her learn independent living skills and in which she would receive appropriate, consistent supervision. Her safety — in more ways than one — could depend on it.
DEAR ABBY: My mother-in-law has a terrible habit. She tells us what she wants for gifts in the form of e-mails with Web links to things she wants.
One year, she bought a pair of $700 earrings and told her fiance that he bought them for her birthday. He actually had to reimburse her.
Last Mother's Day she sent an e-mail with a link to a site selling personalized crystal items to be engraved with a thoughtful message to "Mom." This week she sent an e-mail — two months in advance — saying what she wants for her birthday.
I wasn't raised like this. I have a problem with someone telling me what she wants when I haven't asked. I also don't like being told how much to spend. I think her behavior is selfish and immature, but how do I get it to stop?
My husband is used to it. He doesn't know how to say no to her. His sisters have picked up this habit and tell us what their kids want for birthdays and Christmas. One sister even handed me an ad she had clipped for something she wants on her next birthday. What can I do?
— SOLICITED IN ARIZONA
DEAR SOLICITED: How about ignoring the solicitations and giving something you can afford? Or just say no. And if your mother-in-law or sisters-in-law ask why you didn't "produce on command," say — with a smile — that asking for gifts is rude, that it makes you uncomfortable, and what was requested was beyond your means.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.