Abby: Thanksgiving guest took self-guided tour of home

Dear Abby
Jeanne Phillips

Dear Abby: I lived with my mother, who passed away recently. I invited my cousins over to the house for Thanksgiving. One of them invited a cousin-in-law I had never met.

When I woke from a nap, the cousin-in-law was here and asked me about our walk-in bathtub, which means that while I was asleep on my mother’s bed, she had entered my mother’s bedroom and private bathroom. I was flabbergasted.

She also asked to keep a program I showed her from Mom’s service. I wanted to refuse (I still haven’t sent programs to out-of-state friends and relatives and am unsure how many I may need), but I let her keep it.

Should I say something to let her know how inappropriate it was for her to give herself a tour of my home before she even met me?

Invaded in California

Dear Invaded: No, but you should absolutely say something to the cousin who invited a stranger to your Thanksgiving dinner without permission, and compounded it by leaving that person unsupervised while you slept.

While you may not be able to teach either of them better manners, at least you will have made clear that you won’t tolerate that kind of rudeness in the future.

Dear Abby: I’m a 31-year-old nail biter and have been one for as long as I can remember. As an adult, I’m now attacking my cuticles to the point that they bleed.

If I feel a hangnail, I have to push it down or rip it out. It may be stress-related, but sometimes I don’t even realize that I’m doing it.

I have stopped biting my nails twice, but that’s because I used to get manicures weekly. I can’t afford them anymore. The stuff that “tastes bad” doesn’t taste so bad it stops me.

I’d like to be able to show off my future wedding band. A co-worker said she thinks I have some sort of OCD.

Could she be right? I know I need help.

Do you have any suggestions on how I can help myself?

Diana in San Diego

Dear Diana: I do have one that may be helpful. Keep an emery board and cuticle scissors nearby at all times —including in your purse, at your desk and where you watch television. That way, if you break a nail or get a hangnail, you can smooth it out immediately and you won’t feel so compelled to chew.

Try it. Others have told me it fixed their problem.

Dear Abby: I have a friend, “Riley,” who is the sweetest woman I know. She’s in her mid-20s and has a stable job, but I’m afraid she is setting herself up. She rescues animals that are terminal or nearly so. She’s great with them and should become a veterinarian. A few she has brought back to health, but others just can’t be saved.

My concern is that when Riley loses one, she breaks down. She cries for hours on end, but the minute she gets a call, she willingly takes in another one.

She’s like a sister to me, and I respect and admire her determination to care for these creatures and give them love when no one else will.

How can I nicely say to her that I think she shouldn’t accept any more rescues because she will only continue to get more depressed?

Concerned Friend in Georgia

Dear Concerned: There is no nice way to say that to your friend. What you CAN say is that you are concerned about her because of the depression she experiences when she can’t save one of her animals.

For an animal lover, the loss of a pet is very painful and personal, and her reaction is not unusual.

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