DEAR ABBY: I'm a 22-year-old male who has never been in a serious relationship. About six months ago, I went away to grad school and met a girl. We have become good friends. We talk a lot and I flirt, but I'm not sure if she's flirting back.
She laughs at my stupid jokes and touches me when we joke around, but I think she may regard me as just a friend. I enjoy having her as a friend, but I can't stop thinking about how I'd like to be more than just friends. Should I take the chance and tell her how I feel and risk our friendship — or let things remain the way they are?
— WANTS MORE IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR WANTS MORE: Take the chance and tell her. Faint heart never won fair lady. A clue that she might be mutually attracted to you is the fact that she touches you.
If she isn't attracted to you, you can still be friends — but you'll be psychologically free to look elsewhere for romance. Please write back and tell me what happens — I'm dying to know.
DEAR ABBY: I have just learned that my older sister, "Lindy" (who is currently living with our parents), has been married for two months. I'm the only one who knows. Lindy's husband moved out of state to take a temporary job.
I know if my parents knew, they'd be upset and would no longer allow her to live with them. Their position is if you're old enough to get married, you should be financially independent. As it stands, she is currently on their medical insurance, pays no rent and is attending school on their dollar.
She and her husband had planned to keep this a secret from everyone. I just found out, and it makes me sick. She's getting a free ride at my parents' expense.
I promised Lindy I'd keep her secret, but I think what she's doing is wrong and has the potential to hurt my parents financially and emotionally. I am tempted to tell them anyway. How do you think I should handle this?
— I'VE GOT A SECRET IN UTAH
DEAR GOT A SECRET: You should strongly encourage your sister to level with your parents for the reasons you stated. But do not betray her confidence because if you do, she will never confide in you again. It's not as though Lindy is on drugs, unmarried and pregnant or in a life-threatening situation. Your parents will find out eventually, and she'll face the music then.
DEAR ABBY: Whenever my brother sees a family member eat something unhealthy (salty chips, ice cream, etc.), he thinks it's OK to comment on what we're eating and what it will do to our bodies. I think it is rude.
We know that not everything we eat is perfectly healthy, but we know to eat these things in moderation. (None of us is overweight, by the way.)
My brother claims he makes these comments because he "cares about us," but I think it's rude to do it while we're eating. What do you think?
— CHRISTINA IN FAIRFIELD, OHIO
DEAR CHRISTINA: I agree. There is nothing so hard to swallow as unasked-for advice, particularly when you're eating. Your brother may mean well, or he may be a know-it-all, but his timing is off. Ignore him, and when he sees he doesn't get a rise out of you, he'll stop.
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.