DEAR ABBY: Last Sunday, I attended a church service, and the woman and her adult daughter seated behind me would not shut their mouths. All I could hear was the two of them catching up on the week's gossip. The 5-year-old granddaughter also talked the whole time.
I scooted as far over in the pew as possible to avoid hearing the conversation.
I go to church for peace, quiet and reflection, and it's frustrating to hear constant chatter. I'm glad they come to church, but I wish their idea of "fellowship" extended beyond visiting with each other.
Would it be rude to turn around and ask these people to be quiet?
— PRAYING FOR SILENCE, MOUNT VERNON, OHIO
DEAR PRAYING: No. How else will they know they're creating a distraction? This happens in other venues besides church, and by that I'm referring to movie theaters and theaters where actors are performing. It's not only rude and thoughtless, but can be infuriating.
DEAR ABBY: I am dating a guy, "Ryan," I like very much. He invites me to his family's house for dinner often, and this is where the problem lies.
I eat everything his mom cooks for us and I thank her for it, but she constantly tries to get me to eat more. It has reached the point where she flat-out tells me, "You need to eat more of my food. You didn't have a large enough serving." Even though I am already full, I wind up stuffing myself because I feel guilty, and then I'm uncomfortable.
I don't want to eat there anymore to avoid overeating or making Ryan's mom feel bad. However, I know it means a lot to him that I go. How should I handle her constant badgering?
— STUFFED IN TENNESSEE
DEAR STUFFED: Ryan's mother may be well-meaning, but a polite hostess does not pressure a guest in her home the way she does. Have a private chat with Ryan. Tell him plainly how uncomfortable his mother's badgering makes you feel. If he can't put a stop to it, the next time his mother gives you a hard time, try this: Tell her you are stuffed and ask if you can please take home a doggie bag because her cooking is so delicious.
DEAR ABBY: I was poking around your Web site recently, and while looking through the archives I read your columns featuring names for people in various professions like the urologist named Dr. Leake and the dentist named Dr. Payne.
I have a suggestion for a fun sequel: How about a list of appropriate car models for different professions — real or made up? I'll offer a few: The president of American Express driving a Dodge Charger, or an airline pilot driving a Honda Pilot, and — of course — the proctologist who travels everywhere in his Ford Probe.
I'll bet your readers can come up with a bunch.
— JAMES H., LAKEWOOD, WASH.
DEAR JAMES H.: I'm sure they're up to the challenge. Allow me to suggest a few: The tailor driving a Dodge Dart, the estate planner behind the wheel of his Subaru Legacy and, of course, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr in their matching Volkswagen Beatles.
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.