DEAR ABBY: I’m 17 and don’t know what I want to do with my life. When I was younger, I was sure I wanted to go into the field of law. It was something my parents also wanted me to do.
I go to a very rigorous high school that’s known for being challenging, and haven’t been doing well grade-wise since I started. I used to be a straight-A student but have been getting B’s and C’s lately. This year in particular has been difficult because my parents are getting divorced.
I’m not sure if I want to be a lawyer anymore or even continue my education after college. When I talked with my parents about it, they got very mad and insisted I finish my education, become a lawyer and get a job. They don’t want to give me any other option. Can you give me some suggestions about how I can not be so confused anymore?
— Confused in Michigan
DEAR CONFUSED: This is something you should discuss with a counselor at your school. While I concur with your parents that it is important to complete your education, there are other ways to do it rather than become a lawyer. I say this because in some states there is a glut of law school graduates who, after all their effort and accrued student loan debt, cannot find jobs because there are no openings available for them.
DEAR ABBY: I live in a mid-sized town in the South. I need advice on how to politely tell people that I don’t like drop-in company.
I work a stressful job. When I get home, I like to put on my old, comfortable clothes, curl up with a book or watch TV with my companion dog and be left alone. I’m not trying to be rude, but I think it is rude for people to drop in unannounced.
A few years ago, I had a life-threatening illness, and I am still getting my stamina back to full strength. I need downtime to recharge so I can handle the stresses of my job. However, I am apparently perceived in this Southern community as unfriendly. How do I put out the “NOT Welcome” mat while at the same time not alienating my community?
— Lacks southern hospitality
DEAR LACKS: Honesty is the best policy. If apologies are due, express them. Explain to these nice people that you don’t mean to appear unfriendly, and you would like to be social, but your job is stressful and takes a lot out of you, and the reason you can’t entertain or socialize is you don’t have the stamina. If they are offended after that, the problem is theirs.
DEAR ABBY: I have been separated from my husband for nine years and have no interest in getting back together with him. There’s a guy who I believe is interested in me. He was married to my first cousin for nearly 40 years, until she passed away a little over a year ago. He’s a really nice person, but I’m not sure I should (or even could) date him because he was married to my cousin. Is this OK or not? I could use some advice!
— Cautious in Texas
DEAR CAUTIOUS: If you were single, I would tell you it’s fine — go for it. But you’re NOT single, which could cause disapproval within the family.