Dear Annie: I'm a 23-year-old male and live in a state with a low women-to-men ratio. My problem is that I have a very hard time dealing with girls. I've been rejected too many times to count. I can approach them with no problem, but I somehow manage to mess it up along the way. I have heard some real truthful rejections, but at this point, I've heard so many that I can only assume there must be something horribly wrong with me.
I have tried many different tactics. I don't press too hard and always back off quickly if given the impression my advances are unwelcome. I know that I am a little weird and shy, but I figured over time I would find a girl who appreciates who I am. I don't think it's a good idea to change my personality just to be what someone else likes, although I am willing to make compromises.
I have decided to just stop trying. I really wanted to find someone to care about, but I can't take the hurt anymore. Am I crazy? What should I do? Giving Up in Alaska
Dear Alaska: You're not crazy, but you are too young to give up. If you have a quirky personality, it's more difficult to find someone who suits you, and fishing in a small pond compounds the problem. You aren't meeting enough women. Also, keep in mind that some people are late bloomers, and things might be better for you down the road.
First, go over those previous "truthful rejections" and decide if any of them provided some constructive criticism. Then ask your best friends and close family members to critique your appearance, hygiene, personality, approach, conversation, everything. You also might consider using a reputable Internet dating service that offers a wider pool of potential girlfriends, allowing one to get to know you fairly well before committing to a relationship. Good luck.
Dear Annie: My husband will not see a dentist. We have been married for 25 years, and in that time, he has seen a dentist only once, 20 years ago, when he broke a tooth. He gargles with Listerine every morning and night, and flosses religiously. He says that is good enough.
My husband regularly sees an eye doctor and has his internist give him a thorough physical every year. If I raise the subject of going to the dentist, he gets quite belligerent. Maybe if he sees a good enough reason in your column, he'll change his mind. Bewildered in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Dear Bewildered: Many people have a phobia of dentists, even though today dentists are knowledgeable about anxiety, offering relaxation techniques, audio headphones and sedatives for the more reluctant cases. Your husband also should be aware that gum disease is linked to heart disease. Neglecting dental care could lead to consequences more dire than morning breath.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from "Grossed-Out Grandchild," whose parents send overly detailed e-mails about her grandmother's medical status. You said her parents, as caregivers, probably found this to be a form of emotional support.
I have several years' experience working with long-term care and assisted living. While the information you provided is on the right track, I believe the details provided about Grama's "Activities of Daily Living" (ADLs, as they are known in health care circles) are a cry for help. Those parents want the family to recognize how much work even spry Grama is and are hoping someone will step in to carry some of the burden.
Caring for family members at home can become overwhelming, and the health and safety of the loved one can be jeopardized by not getting help soon enough. Kate in Louisville, Ky.
Dear Kate: You may be right, and we hope other family members will step up to the plate and offer assistance. Thanks for your expertise.
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