DEAR ABBY: My husband and I live in a nice home in the desert Southwest with an in-ground pool and guesthouse. Our friends and relatives from back east have an open invitation to visit whenever they please. We enjoyed these visits until recently.
The problem is their ever-present compulsion to be connected to an electronic device. We are not yet retired, but in the past we didn’t mind taking a few days off work to spend time with folks who came all the way out here to spend a few days with us. But it seems like nowadays our guests have their noses pointed at a phone or computer most of the time they are here. They have actually missed the beauty of our area, which we are missing work to show them, because they are otherwise engaged.
Is there a pleasant way to ask them to disconnect for a bit while we are enjoying their visit, or should I just get in the grumpy old lady line? I want our visitors to have a good time, but I find this behavior especially rude.
— ALMOST DONE IN THE SOUTHWEST
DEAR ALMOST DONE: It’s possible that your guests don’t realize how much time they’re spending on their computers and cellphones. Because you are so turned off you are considering rolling up the welcome mat, explain to your guests that you have given them an open invitation so you can enjoy each other’s company, and you are hurt that they spend so much time on their electronic devices. Nobody gets something for nothing, and it seems the “quid” has gone missing from the “pro quo” you have been offering.
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DEAR ABBY: I am a male who was molested 30 years ago. It has troubled me into adulthood. Recently, my boss informed my crew that a convicted pedophile will be working on a trial basis on our shift. The moment he said it, it started setting off triggers in my head, and I am very angry about it.
When I told my boss about my childhood experience, he acted like he didn’t want to hear it. Do I have any rights in this matter? I really can’t work with a man who has hurt another child like I was.
— TROUBLED VICTIM
DEAR TROUBLED VICTIM: You absolutely do have rights. You have the right to request a different shift, if that’s possible. If it isn’t, you also have the right to look for another job. If that’s the case, it will be interesting to know how many of the other employees will follow you out the door.
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DEAR ABBY: A good friend’s wife is currently in hospice care and not expected to live much longer. While I was at Walmart the other day, I passed through the card department and, because I was already there, I figured I would purchase a condolence/sympathy card. When my inner circle discovered I had bought the card before she passed, they criticized me to no end. I thought it was an efficient thing to do. I’m not wrong, am I?
— EFFICIENT IN THE MIDWEST
DEAR EFFICIENT: Oh, come on! There was nothing wrong with what you did. Many people buy cards of all types because they think the message is appropriate. You thought of your friend and his wife while you were in the card section, and it is the thought that counts — not the date of purchase. If you made any mistake, it was in letting it be known that you purchased the card in advance. In a situation like this, discretion is key.