I'm a freshman in college, blessed to have an internship in the office of a nonprofit organization. As time goes by, and as trust is built, I am being given more responsibilities. One of them is writing letters for various purposes - thank-you letters, invitations, congratulatory letters, etc.
When I was in high school, I was never taught the format for how to write these kinds of letters. I get confused about spacing and how to address people with titles. It's a shame that technology has left my generation so clueless on how to do important stuff. Is there a resource for letter-writing available from you? I need it because I feel awkward always having to ask other staff members.
- Clueless Intern in Algonquin, Ill.
DEAR INTERN: Judging from the high volume of mail I receive, letter composition is something that many people besides you struggle with. I publish a booklet called "How to Write Letters for All Occasions," and among the topics it covers are how to address a senator, member of Congress, clergyperson, etc.
It can be ordered by sending your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S.), to Dear Abby Letters Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.
Keep it in your desk drawer, and dip into it as needed. My letters booklet also contains helpful suggestions for writing letters of congratulations, and letters about difficult subjects to address, such as condolence for the loss of a parent, spouse, or child, as well as warm thank-you notes for birthday, shower, wedding and holiday gifts.
My letters booklet provides an assist for anyone who needs a quick and easy tutorial. It has also proved to be particularly helpful for parents to use as a way to teach children how to write using proper etiquette.
My boyfriend and I have been together for four years. I love him deeply, but I have lied to him about certain things. I feel guilty about it, but I can't bring myself to tell him the truth because he has a temper.
One lie I told was that I was laid off from my previous job, but I really quit. He didn't want me quitting, but I did it for my own good. I was having a nervous breakdown, and all I felt were negative thoughts when I worked there. Although I found a better job months later, I never summoned the courage to tell him the truth.
We don't live together. I'm 24, and he's 26. Do you think this lack of communication is a reason to break up, or am I being too sensitive about his temper? He doesn't abuse me, but he won't talk to me if he doesn't have things his way.
- Unsure in the West
DEAR UNSURE: I'm glad you're not living together, because if you were, your problem would have serious ramifications. Your boyfriend may not be physically abusive, but he is controlling. Subjecting you to the silent treatment is emotionally abusive, and so was deciding "for" you that you should remain at a job that's stressful and unpleasant.