Dear Short Answers >> I have two reasonably good friends who have been dating for the past six months. When they broke up a few weeks ago, Tracy told me she didn't want to give me details, but Brandon had done things to her that were so horrible no one should go near him again and we certainly shouldn't be his friend anymore. I want to support my friend Tracy, but I don't want to unjustly hurt Brandon. If she expects me to stop talking to Brandon, doesn't Tracy owe me a more complete explanation?

— Need to Know

DEAR NEED >> Unless you are still in high school, we fail to understand how any of this could be your business. If you are still in high school, this is a fine time to learn that other people's romance/divorce are nunya.

Dear Short Answers >> I have a close friend who is often in financial trouble. She owes more money than I can even imagine. When she tells me about her debts I want to throw up. I sense she wants to borrow money, but I know this is not the answer. But what should I do?

— Peggy

DEAR PEGGY >> Don't throw up and don't lend her money. Only she can solve this problem and it will require a drastic rehabilitation of her way of thinking about the role of money in her life. It won't be easy — so don't expect miracles.

Wear with pride

Dear Short Answers >> People on planes with active colds! Can I open the emergency door and just push them out for the common good?


— Frequent Flyer

DEAR FF >> If you did so, many would probably cheer — but it would be very, very wrong. However, you can wear a surgical mask if the situation calls for it — and feel no shame.

The lonliest profession

Dear Short Answers >> After a year of hard work, the book I have been working on is finally finished. I recently sent it to someone I was involved with when I was writing it (he had asked me for a copy). That was a month ago, and it doesn't seem he plans on acknowledging it, which is really tough to take since even though we are no longer a "couple," I thought we still had a good relationship. How do I deal with these negative feelings?

— Writer

DEAR WRITER >> We've been there. After the monumental effort involved in writing and publishing a book, it's tough to handle a less-than-enthusiastic response from someone who was close to you. However, our experience is that no one is ever quite enthusiastic enough. Writing a book is a personal journey — from beginning to end. Lack of recognition is part of the process for most of us. Sorry.

Even Steven

Dear Short Answers >> I have noted that when I go to visit my family or they come to visit me, my partner feels she has to do the same – like she wants to make sure she was protected by her own blood. Is this normal? Should I worry that my family is overwhelming?

— Steve

DEAR STEVE >> Is your family overwhelming? Ask her.

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