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Annie’s Mailbox

Annie’s Mailbox

Posted: Monday, February 15, 2010 8:02 pm

  Dear Annie: I’m 17 years old and, in a few months, will be graduating and going away to college. I’m very excited about it. 

My only concern is my boyfriend. I love him, and we’ve been together a long time. “Nick” is a year older, has a job (I have a job, as well.) and goes to the local community college. He wants to live with me next year. I am not opposed to this. Nick doesn’t have a happy home life, and I don’t believe either of us will be attracted to someone else. 

We have already had months of planning and will be able to support ourselves, and I would rather move in with him than live in a dorm. Nick can transfer and work at the same company as a full-time employee until we save enough for him to take night classes. 

I haven’t told my mother. She will be paying for my tuition and dorm, and I plan to pay for everything else. She thinks highly of Nick and knows he would never do anything to hurt me. I don’t want to disappoint her, nor do I want her to think less of me. What should I tell her? — Worried 

Dear Worried: The truth and your reasoning behind it. But first consider what your decision means. How will you feel if Nick decides to keep working and never finishes his education? What happens if one of you finds the new environment has many “attractions” you hadn’t considered? Also, dorm living is a good way to acclimate to college, meet new people and be part of campus life. Will you regret missing out on that? If your mother refuses to pay your rent, can you still afford it? Think about these issues, and then ask your mother to set aside a few quiet moments to have an honest discussion on the subject.

Dear Annie: What is the etiquette concerning a hostess who frequently uses her laptop or texts others while entertaining company? 

My husband and I have been invited to a friend’s home a couple of times in the past few weeks. After dinner and cleanup, this hostess plops down on the couch and proceeds to use her laptop or send text messages to other friends. I find this rude. 

Should we leave right after dinner so as not to interrupt her activities? I am afraid she would be insulted. What would you do? — Ignored Friends

Dear Ignored: Your friend may be occupying herself in the hope that you will get the hint and leave. So accommodate her. Politely. Say, “We can see that you are busy, so we’ll be going. It’s been a lovely evening. Thank you.” Frankly, staying through cleanup is usually sufficient visiting time. If your friend seriously protests your departure, it means she has no clue that she is being rude. Either way, there is no reason to stay if she continues to be unavailable. 

Dear Annie: This is in response to “Sad in Ohio,” whose abrasive mother picks fights and has no friends left. You said Mom may be depressed or have an underlying mental illness. Your advice is right on. 

We lost our difficult mother last year. She didn’t want us to visit unless it was at her request. Although we called, she did not answer her phone unless she wanted to talk, and because of this, we had no idea she had died a few days before Thanksgiving. When she died, it took two days for the police to contact us because Mother did not have our phone numbers anywhere nearby. 

My mother was not diagnosed with any mental illness, but my siblings and I knew that something was wrong. We simply could not get close enough to do anything about it. We are glad she is now at peace. — Pennsylvania

Dear Pennsylvania: How sad that some people are unable or unwilling to reach out to family or friends when they need them most. We are sorry for your loss. 

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at
Published in The Messenger 2.15.10

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