Abby: Relatives’ comings, goings leave sister at a loss

Dear Abby
Jeanne Phillips

Dear Abby: My older brother and son live with me. We are all adults, so we don’t need to ask each other’s permission before one of us leaves the house. Out of courtesy, I let them know where I’m going, who I’ll be with, and if I am likely to be out late. When I’m out, if I realize that I’ll be gone later than I thought, I text them. To me, this is common courtesy.

My brother and son say goodbye when they leave, but rarely volunteer any information about their plans. I hate to ask, because they are adults and it’s none of my business, but it just seems rude. I’m often startled when they come home late and I am awakened, until I know it’s them and not someone breaking in. If I wake up and they aren’t home, I worry. Am I right to expect them to tell me where they are going and if they will be late?

Annoyed Sister

Dear Annoyed: To expect to be told where your older brother and adult son are going and with whom seems like a lot of information to demand. However, being informed what time they will be back so you won’t think someone is breaking in not only would be thoughtful, but also practical.

Dear Abby: I suffer from severe seasonal allergies. I have watery eyes and sneeze during January and February every year. I went to an allergist last winter, but he couldn’t do much for me.

As I struggle to get through my days as quietly as possible, every sneeze seemingly elicits a “God bless you” from some stranger. If I’m unable to acknowledge it, I often get a “Well, thank you!” or some other show of indignation.

Abby, I don’t need “blessings.” Calling attention to my difficulties, frankly, just annoys and embarrasses me. I am trying the best I can to be quiet and avoid disruption. Can you please ask your many readers to end this ancient, silly convention and let those of us with allergies suffer in peace?

Atchoo in Kansas City

Dear Atchoo: No. The “God bless you” convention originated in the Middle Ages. People thought that when someone sneezed the soul left the body for a minute, and would be snatched by the devil if someone didn’t say “God bless you.” Those who say it today may be doing it because it has become a conditioned reflex, or to be polite. Accept the kind gesture and kwitchurbitchin.

Dear Abby: After becoming engaged recently, I was excited to ask my best friend to be my bridesmaid. However, her husband can’t stand the thought of her getting dolled up and walking down the aisle after the ceremony with another man.

I want to be respectful, but this just seems over the top. Their daughters will be flower girls. I don’t understand why this is an issue. Would it be best for her to just attend the wedding? This is breaking my heart. What’s a bride to do?

Respectful in Kentucky

Dear Respectful: Your friend’s husband appears to be insecure and controlling. Your next move should be to ask your friend how she plans to handle this — so that she and the girls can be replaced, if necessary.

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