Dear Abby: I’ve known “Gigi” since second grade. We’ve kept in touch over the years, although sporadically over the last two decades. Until 10 years ago, she used to spend a week with us in the summer. She came three different times, and we had fun. We also visited him twice in California. I was married, but then without children.
Shortly after our first child was born, she started dating — and then living with her boyfriend. I’m glad she’s happy with him.
Soon after they started dating, Gigi asked about coming over, and I agreed, but said they would have to sleep in separate rooms at my house. She said yes, and I don’t think she was surprised because she’s known me for so long. However, the plans didn’t work out (his schedule, she said) and he didn’t come through. That was five years ago.
We were on the phone recently, and he asked about going out. I told her I was glad to finally meet her boyfriend, and we set up a date. Neither of us mentioned sleeping arrangements, but I think maybe I need to clarify again. I don’t judge her, but I have decided that I should never feel uncomfortable in my house. Their sharing the same room would make me uncomfortable.
During a conversation five years ago, I told Gigi that if sleeping apart made her uncomfortable, we could see each other during the day and she could arrange to stay at a hotel or another friend’s house . She hasn’t mentioned her plans this time, but for now it looks like she intends to stay here. What should I do? – House Rules in Utah
Dear Rule: Because Gigi and her boyfriend sharing a bedroom in your home will still make you uncomfortable, call him and explain that although he’s welcome, your feelings on the subject of sleeping arrangements haven’t changed. This is not a discussion you should have upon their arrival.
Dear Abby: What’s the best way to decline a handshake? In social settings, I often find myself ready to eat, wash and clean my hands, only for someone to extend their hand to me in the hope of a handshake. The last thing I want before handling my food is someone shaking hands.
In one instance, a man who was hosting a gathering with his wife returned late from a bike ride as we were approaching the dinner table and offered me his sweaty hand. On refusing, there was a dirty look from my companion and an expression of surprise emerged on the face of the cyclist. Please advice. – keeping clean in the west
Dear Keeping Clean: If it’s of any comfort, you’re far from the only person who doesn’t like shaking hands. Over the years, I have received letters from many others who share your concern. Some fear Covid; Others simply dislike physical contact. (In some cultures, a handshake is never performed.)
Some people avoid this by putting their palms together, leaning forward slightly, smiling, and saying something like, “It’s great to see you!” Or, in your case, “So how was that bike ride?”
If you don’t already do so, keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer with you to use when you don’t have a choice.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. contact dear abby www.DearAbby.com or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.