Dear Short Answers >> I live in a small town. Someone I know quite well broke up with her guy a few months ago. I ran into her in a bar and she shared how happy she was that it was over. She has a history of having a short temper and although she started calmly to talk to me about her break up, it quickly degenerated and I had to excuse myself as I don't do well with anger. A few weeks later, her beau ended up at a party I had at my house. Weeks went by and he asked me for a date. I am developing a liking for him and the word has gotten out to her and I know she is angry. I think I owe her an explanation, but I am not sure what to say. I want to respect her pain and most likely her jealousy but how do I do this with tact?
— Wanna Do It Nice
DEAR NICE >> Although we do not think you need to ask permission, you could let her know that since she made it clear they were "done," you have decided to explore possibilities. Anger on her part is inappropriate.
You don't know what you don't know
Dear Short Answers >> What do you do if you think a friend is shoplifting? All of a sudden, she has a new watch, some new jewelry, new clothes. She always complained in the past about not having enough money for things like this. Do I mention it to her and try to get her to stop?
— Very Concerned
DEAR VC >> There could be many explanations for your friend's new acquisitions. Before you leap to conclusions, why don't you ask her about the new stuff? Maybe she won the lottery, maybe she had a lucrative fourth quarter, or maybe Santa was particularly generous.
The stuff of movies
Dear Short Answers >> I recently moved to a new town and am having a terrible time meeting new people. It seems almost everybody in town is a couple. That's okay with me since I am not looking for romance. But it's hard to break into a world of married couples. I feel like the odd woman out. Any suggestions?
— New in Town
DEAR NEW >> A lot of baggage here. It always seems like everyone else is a couple. That's because everyone else doesn't know where to go — or you haven't found it. Host a few informal after-work-bring-your-spouse events — and see what happens. Confide in a wife so they know you aren't gunning for their husbands. Then wait.
Brave new world
Dear Short Answers >> My daughter just got engaged. What is the mother of the bride-to-be supposed to do?
— Mom, Uncertain
DEAR MOM >> Of course you are uncertain — it's not the Emily Post world you may have grown up with. Ask your daughter what she would like — a party, a family gathering for his and hers, or, as many choose these days, nothing at all. Follow her instructions. And BTW, we suggest that you don't start talking wedding until she does. Some couples need awhile to get used to the idea and figure out what they want.
Dear Short Answers >> What do I do if I am totally in love with someone at work who is married? How do I get over it?
— Love Sick
DEAR SICK >> This is a bad movie. The way to get over it is to stay out of it.