Dear Short Answers >> I live in a small town. Someone I know 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 a few words, but I am not sure what they are. I want to respect her pain and most likely her jealousy, but how do I do this with tact?

— Georgia

DEAR GEORGIA >> Sounds like their relationship is virtually ancient history. No need for apology or explanation. If she confronts you, just say "I thought you were done with him?" Is that few enough for you, bunky?

The courage of one

Dear Short Answers >> My friend is very charming and very beautiful, but she is a bully. She bullies her friends and her family and her boyfriend and her employer. Everyone puts up with it because no one incident is that bad and she can be very volatile. What should we do?

— Speaking for Friends and Family


DEAR F&F >> A group intervention is rarely a good idea. We suggest that you get some guts and address each incident as it happens. Forget past sins and leave the gang out of it. If several of you push back, one at a time, she is likely to get the message.

Getting to know her

Dear Short Answers >> I have met this woman who happens to be a parent of a 4-year old. I'm sure it will be a while before I meet her child if things progress. So how do I address scheduling dates until then? She doesn't have family nearby to babysit, and her ex is unwilling to take in his own child on nights she wants to go out. I feel like we have chemistry and don't want to give this one up just because

— Interested

DEAR INTERESTED >> Ask her to pick a night that works for her. Babysitters are generally available. If she is not comfortable leaving a 4-year old with a sitter, you know where you are (and likely will be) in the pecking order.

Things your mama taught you

Dear Short Answers >> Someone at work who I know well, but I absolutely despise, has become ill. I will not rush to his side, but feel I should acknowledge his misfortune. What should I do?

— Not A Hypocrite!

DEAR NOT >> The line between hypocritical and insensitive is challenging, but not untraveled. It may be that this person is more receptive to kindness in his weakened state. We never advocate sycophancy, however an upbeat and hopeful note at this time may stir his heart, and either way you have not compromised yours.

Did we mention a sense of humor?

Dear Short Answers >> What are the basic requirements for a good marriage?

— In Love, Not sure

DEARIE >> First, you have to like yourself. Second, you have to like the other person. Third, you need to agree to duke out the tough ones. Door slamming is okay; leaving is not.

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