Dear Short Answers >> An engaged friend took both moms to shop for the bridal gown. The groom's mom took pictures of the chosen dress and is passing them around to family and friends. The bride is devastated that her gown is no longer a secret. What should she do?

— Friend of the Bride

DEAR FOB >> We think the future mother-in-law was insensitive, but "devastated" is a bit of an over-reaction. Tell your friend that marriage and a new family will present many challenges and she should take this opportunity to let the M-I-L know how she feels now, with the objective of keeping the airways open for the future.


Dear Short Answers >> I have a close relative (my cousin) who calls me several times a week to invite me to come visit her (she lives in Wisconsin) or asks to come visit me. She wants me to come for Christmas, for Easter, for her kid's birthdays and graduations. I actually went to Wisconsin once for her daughter's wedding, which was probably a mistake. But I have refused her invitations for the last five years. It's gotten to the point where I won't answer the phone when I see that it's her. But after 20 messages, I call back. How do I make her stop? I would be happy to call her and chat now and then — but I'm not her best friend and I'm not coming to visit.

— Guilty


DEAR GUILTY >> You are half way there! You know how you feel — now just tell her in the nicest possible way that you would be happy to "chat" and maybe be Facebook friends, but the invitations are not anything you are prepared to respond to.

Don't fuel the fire

Dear Short Answers >> There is a woman at work who is constantly having dreams (and sometimes nightmares) about me. They aren't pornographic, but sometimes they are a bit sexual and they are always embarrassing. I asked her not to tell me about them anymore, but she still tells everyone else in the office so I hear about them from others. I asked her to stop telling anyone at work, but she refused and said it was none of my business. What do I do?

— In Her Dreams

DEAR IHD >> Dis-engage. Your interest, feigned disinterest and embarrassment all encourage her. Do nothing, say nothing. If confronted — shrug and keep walking.

Timing is everything

Dear Short Answers >> I just heard that my best friend's ex just got married. I'm sure she doesn't know. Should I tell her?

— Alice

DEAR ALICE >> Of course, you should tell her — but wait. The time and manner will present itself.

No good deed goes unpunished

Dear Short Answers >> I have grown children who I love and respect — I even like their spouses. But here's the problem: I hardly ever see them. I know I am lucky — most of my friends' kids are very dependent, either financially or emotionally but at least they see them. What should I do?

— Lonely Mom

DEAR MOM >> Congrats! Sounds like you did a great job — now shuddup. They will come around when they are able to — because they love you not because you demand it!

Health and hygiene

Dear Short Answers >> Why do my pickles taste like oranges?

— Smelly Nelly

DEAR NELLY >> Try cleaning your fridge.

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