Abby: People make themselves at home in another castle

Dear Abby
Jeanne Phillips

Dear Abby: I have a neighbor, “Mrs. Smith,” whom I see often in another neighbor’s yard, “the Joneses,” when they aren’t home. I’ve seen Mrs. Smith pick vegetables from their garden and take them to her house, and Mr. Smith connect extension cords that run to their home in the winter when the owners are away. The Smiths are well off.

While it’s possible the Joneses don’t mind sharing their garden and electricity with this couple, it does seem unusual. We have security cameras in our yard to discourage the Smiths from coming onto our property.

Should I tell the Joneses about these people and, if so, what would be the best way to approach the subject? Or should I just mind my own business?

I would consider someone a good neighbor if they told me someone was coming onto my property like this, but I can’t assume that others feel the same way — especially since they seem friendly toward each other and share a property line. What would a good neighbor do?

Neighborly in North Dakota

Dear Neighborly: A good neighbor does unto others as he/she would like them to do unto him/her. The next time you see the Joneses, casually mention what you have observed, suggest they might want to check their electric bill and let them take it from there — or not.

Dear Abby: I am a 25-year-old who has been dating a great guy for a year. The relationship is everything I’ve dreamed of. My only concern is that my friends don’t seem to care much for him. That doesn’t bother me, but what does bother me is they are distancing themselves from me now.

I’m no longer invited to gatherings. My “best friend” doesn’t keep in touch anymore, and I have given up on trying to reach out every time. If I do manage to talk to her, she makes an excuse to get off the phone as quickly as possible.

I have never done this to any of my friends, regardless of whom they were dating or what life threw at them. Is this a normal part of life? Should I reconsider my friendships?

Bothered in Boston

Dear Bothered: Relationships sometimes ebb and flow. Before “reconsidering” these friendships, have a frank and honest chat with these women about why they don’t like your boyfriend. That your BFF would treat you the way she has is puzzling, unless she’s jealous because you spend so much time with your boyfriend or he has offended her in some way.

On a different note, does this man have friends of his own? Do the two of you socialize with other couples? Having been together for a year, are you making new friends together? If the answer to these questions is yes, then it may, indeed, be time to move on your girlfriends.

Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.