Dear Annie: I have a friend and co-worker who never knows where to draw the line when flirting. More specifically, "Tasha" flirts with other women's boyfriends and husbands. She has a tendency to touch and caress them when talking, and flutters her eyes coyly and coos at them as if their every word was magical. Her conversations with men are almost always suggestive, yet she plays innocent when confronted. Strangely enough, her husband either doesn't mind or doesn't notice, and the other men, including my husband, obviously enjoy the attention.
Several women in our social circle don't like Tasha and often complain that she ought to keep her hands to herself. I like her as a friend but don't appreciate her inappropriate behavior. Should we confront her, or ignore her and hope she grows up? Frustrated Friend in North Carolina
Dear Friend: Some women flirt with everyone and have no idea how offensive such behavior is to other women. Feel free to tell her how her actions are perceived by others. The real question, however, is how your husband responds to Tasha's flirting. If he seems acutely interested, inform him that such behavior is disrespectful to your marriage and you expect him to let her know it is unacceptable.
Dear Annie: My daughter, "Anna," is 16 and a junior in high school. I am worried about her relationships with her girlfriends. They never bothered to call her even once over the summer, and since school started, they don't return her phone calls, either. The girls ignore her at school and other functions. Anna really likes these girls and is not interested in making new friends.
My daughter is a good student and active in sports. Most days, she comes home in tears because her friends treat her so poorly. I hate to see her like this. I know the mothers of these girls and am wondering if I should talk to them about this problem. Please help. Worried Mom in California
Dear Mom: These girls are not likely to treat your daughter better because you tattle to their mothers, and Anna will not appreciate your interference. The real issue is why Anna puts up with such shabby treatment and is so reluctant to find friends who are more suitable.
Assure your daughter that she is a wonderful girl and deserves to have friends who care about her. Also encourage Anna to talk to the school counselor for guidance. She could use some outside help.
Dear Annie: I recently was invited to a birthday party at the very last minute. I didn't have time to buy a gift, so I came empty-handed. I figured I would get the birthday girl a belated gift later in the week.
Another woman at the party had purchased a rather expensive item and asked each of us to contribute, saying, "We can tell her this gift is from all of us." It was not something I would have chosen, and it came with a hefty price tag, so I declined.
During the entire party, I received dirty looks from people who apparently assumed I was a cheapskate. Was I out of line, or were their expectations unreasonable? Surprised Guest in California
Dear Guest: They were out of line. Apparently, quite a few guests were invited "at the last minute" and had no time to buy a gift. It sounds a little fishy that only one person managed to purchase something before the party. Let's assume she was trying to be helpful, but it was inappropriate to make you feel pressured.