Abby: Family fundraiser raises relative’s ire

Dear Abby
Jeanne Phillips

Dear Abby: A family member keeps setting up fundraisers every time she wants to buy something for her family. If a child needs a special class, she asks the relatives to pitch in to pay for it. When her husband wanted to return to college, she brought all the extended family together to see who could contribute.

She has now set up a fundraiser for family and friends to raise $6,000 to send her teenaged daughter to an expensive performing arts camp. I think this is extravagant. If they can’t afford it, they should select a camp they CAN afford or have the 16-year-old go out and earn the money. I also think they should be saving for college rather than camp.

This woman’s father was a preacher, and sometimes I think she never got the message that fundraising is usually for charity, not for individuals who happen to need some cash. Am I wrong to be embarrassed by what she’s doing, or is this a new normal?

Embarrassed in Texas

Dear Embarrassed: You say your relative is the daughter of a preacher. There is a saying in the Bible, “Seek and ye shall find.” Another way of putting it is, “It never hurts to ask.” If you feel your relative is using others for something that should be her responsibility, you are free to just say no, and to do so without embarrassment.

Dear Abby: I’m retired and have the time to sew and quilt projects, which I give as gifts. I presented a “Quilt of Valor” to my father to honor his military service. I also gave a sibling one of my personalized projects as a birthday gift.

Abby, when we visited their home recently, I was horrified to see one of their dogs sleeping on one of the pillows I had made for them. When the dog woke up, it proceeded to scratch itself and then drag the hair-covered pillow through the house. I’ve been asked to make a quilt for a disabled child living who also has a dog that sleeps on her bed.

I no longer want to invest my time and energy after what happened to my gift. I feel unappreciated. Would it be wrong to refuse the request and say something about “gift abuse”?

Sew Perplexed

in The Northwest

Dear Sew Perplexed: Verbalizing your refusal would be undiplomatic. Regardless of the fact that your hard work wasn’t appreciated as you hoped it would be, I do not recommend that you accuse the family of “gift abuse.” It appears they’re dealing with more important issues right now.

Dear Abby: My husband and I have been together for 21 years. I’m extremely social, while he is not. For the past six to 10 years he has become increasingly resistant to going out in public places, especially when it involves getting together with my family or friends.

During last year’s holidays, I pleaded yet another “sudden illness” on his behalf. I feel he makes himself ill with anxiety so he can bow out at the last minute. When I cancel plans we’ve made — which is often — he generally “feels better” after we cancel. It’s frustrating. While I am sympathetic, I’m tired of making excuses knowing he’s probably fine. What can I do?

Social Butterfly

in Portland, Ore.

Dear Butterfly: I think you should go without him, and stop making excuses.

Dear Abby: My friend whom I have known since we were 8-year-olds (we’re now in our 50s) is driving me bonkers. She has started drinking a lot and hanging out with younger people and dating younger guys. I have loaned her quite a bit of money because she can barely get by. I don’t drink, and I hate seeing what she’s doing to herself. I think she is having trouble with the aging process.

She has now started to embarrass me when she drinks in public. She doesn’t handle it well and relies on me to get her out of sticky situations. I’m really tired of all this. I have told her how I feel, but she knows I’ll come to her rescue.

Tired Guardian Angel

Dear Tired: Do not let her continue to make her drinking your problem, because you can’t control it. Tell her you are her friend, not her chaperone, and you’ll socialize with her only if she limits her intake to nonalcoholic beverages.

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