DEAR ABBY: My wife, "Tina," was very hurt by a friend recently. Her friend "Sally" called her "cheap" ("she's cheap like you"). Sally didn't intend it to be hurtful, but my wife is very upset about it.
We use coupons when we grocery shop or dine out; we also watch our thermostats, recycle, etc. On the other hand, we have sent our children to university without loans, our mortgage is paid off, we have traveled extensively and our net worth is north of a million dollars with no debt. How do I make Tina realize that Sally's comment should not upset her so?
- Thrifty in Texas
DEAR THRIFTY: The problem may be that Sally simply chose the wrong word. What she probably meant was that your wife is frugal. The difference between "frugal" and "cheap" is that being frugal is a virtue. Because Sally hurt your wife's feelings, Tina needs to tell her how it made her feel so Sally can apologize to her before it causes a permanent rift.
DEAR ABBY: I'm a teenage girl who has a problem that seems to be taking over my life: I'm very anxious. At first, it seemed I was just a worrywart, but lately, it's been nuts - my anxiety just overtakes me.
I'm terrified of death and that my parents or my siblings will die tomorrow. I don't know who to tell. My parents freak out over the slightest thing. Please help me.
- Worrywart in Arizona
DEAR WORRYWART: Many young people harbor the same fear you have. But because you say your parents tend to "freak out" at the slightest thing, I can't help but wonder if a tendency toward high anxiety runs in your family.
Assuming that your family members are in good health, your preoccupation with the idea they might suddenly die should be discussed with a licensed psychotherapist. Ideally, you should tell your parents what's going on, but if you're afraid to talk to them and ask for help, then speak to a counselor at school so the counselor can bring it to their attention. Because this is troubling you to the extent that you have written to me, please don't procrastinate.