Dear Amy:

Five years ago, my brother-in-law of 32 years, "Mike," told my sister "Julie" that he was unhappy and wanted to date. Unfortunately, it turned out that he had dated off and on during their marriage. Julie went through therapy and recently married a wonderful man.

In the meantime, Mike has dated many women while having a steady girlfriend. Recently, he announced that he is getting married to this woman, but in checking, I saw that he still has very active personal ads!

Is it anyone's business to "warn" this woman, "Hey, do you realize your fiance still has active dating ads?"

My sister has met her and says she is really a nice person. I have friends who know her, and everyone agrees that what he does is awful, but what do we do about it?

- Fretting in Fresno

Dear Fretting:

It is most definitely not your business to warn a complete stranger about the dating proclivities of your former brother-in-law, nor should you be checking on his online status, though anyone posting online profiles should be smart enough to know that they are easily accessed by prospective fiances as well as former sisters-in-law.

That said, sometimes a judicious warning can help a person avoid a romantic train wreck. This warning is best delivered not by you or your sister but by one of

her

friends.

Dear Amy:

My best friend, "Wendy," would be e-mailing you if she could get herself to do it. Despite having been through bankruptcy, she's in debt again. She's tried following a budget but admits she doesn't know how the whole "delayed gratification" thing works.

Wendy misses appointments, can't keep promises, and has trouble listening or focusing. I've tried helping her because I'm disciplined and organized. But, as she readily admits, no system or budget or calendar will work unless she can get herself to use it and stick to it.

I'm trying to be a good friend, but I've run out of ideas, and my own frustration is mounting. What would you suggest?

- Wendy's BFF

Dear BFF:

"Wendy" seems to exhibit some of the classic signs of someone who has attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. People who have ADHD often have trouble focusing, and getting and staying organized.

Your ability to help someone with this problem is limited, though your continued support and friendship are crucial. The best you could do for your BFF is to recommend that she see her doctor for an evaluation.

People with ADHD often respond well to cognitive therapy (offering tools and strategies to recognize and cope with their condition) as well as medication.

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