Abby: Community’s sunny side hides neighborhood grudges

Dear Abby
Jeanne Phillips

Dear Abby: My wife and I live in a small town in the Northwest. After many years here, feeling that a warmer climate may be better for us, we decided to retire and move to a 55-plus community. We researched and visited several, and recently bought a home in one with about 5,000 residents and a lot of senior activities.

After closing, we stayed around for several days to get better acquainted and got a rude surprise. Everyone we met was very friendly, but quite a few seemed to have a grudge about at least one other person in the community. We’ve always made friends easily. What can we do or say to be able to be friends with neighbors who have grudges against each other (“If you are friends with them, you can’t be friends with us”)?

Not Taking Sides In The South

Dear Not Taking Sides: It appears you not only moved south, but also into an “elementary school” complete with playground politics. Don’t let yourselves to be shanghaied into an exclusive relationship with anyone who tries to blackmail you this way. If your neighbors can’t get along, let it be their problem and see them separately. And when they put down the people they don’t like, change the subject.

Dear Abby: My boyfriend and I have been together for two years and are in a committed relationship. Yesterday he told me he isn’t sexually satisfied. I was shocked. I thought our sex life was good overall. However, he says he feels he’s doing most of the work and I’m not “adventurous” enough. He’s not looking for anything crazy, but I have limited experience and lack confidence in this area. How do I get my confidence up and meet his needs?

Unsure in Illinois

Dear Unsure: Have a talk with your boyfriend. Tell him you are glad he was honest with you. Then ask what he meant by “adventurous” and what he’d like from you. It could be something as simple as you initiating sex encounters more often. But if it’s not, it will be the beginning of an important talk.

Dear Abby: I received an invitation to a “belly and bells shower.” The bride is expecting (belly) and her wedding shower is included (bells). I’m not certain how to respond gift-wise. Do I buy two gifts? She’s registered at two sites, one for baby and one for bridal.

Confused in Michigan

Dear Confused: Yes, two gifts are what’s being requested. What those gifts should be is up to you — although you will get some idea of what the young couple will need by visiting the two websites. After the shower is over, the rule of etiquette is that you should receive a wedding invitation. If you choose to attend, another gift will be in order, so don’t put away your checkbook.

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