DEAR ABBY: I host all of the holiday parties and dinner parties for my family. Whenever I have my parents over, my father insists on helping himself to the top layer of every casserole. He'll scrape all the cheese off the potatoes, the crunchy onion topping off the green bean casserole, etc., leaving just the bare vegetables for everyone else.
I have asked Dad not to do it because it is inconsiderate of the other guests. I can see people are bothered by it, so now they make a beeline to the buffet so they can beat him to it.
Dad got offended when I talked to him about it, but he continues to do it. Mom refuses to get involved, and I have said all I can say. What to do? -- BURNED UP IN ILLINOIS
DEAR BURNED UP: A guest who grabs all the goodies at a dinner party is a hog. Because your father refuses to change his behavior, I will offer a few suggestions: The first is to alter your menu to avoid serving casserole dishes. If that's not possible, make your father his own separate casserole with his name on it, so he can have it all to himself. Or plate the food in the kitchen and stop serving it buffet-style.
DEAR ABBY: Over the past few years, as social media has become more popular, I have noticed a trend among many people. They now favor that form of communication over personal human interaction. This is especially true of my girlfriend of five years.
We have the normal relationship problems I feel could be addressed, but from the moment she gets home from work she's in front of the computer playing Facebook games, posting status updates or messaging "friends." She sits there for hours, lost in her virtual world. We rarely talk anymore, and when we do it turns into an argument because I'm trying to discuss what I see as a serious problem.
The Internet and social media are great tools for bringing worlds together, if they are not abused. But for many people, I think, social media is doing more harm than good. It has depersonalized human contact and has the potential to destroy relationships and isolate individuals.
I'm interested in your opinion and any advice you can give me on helping my girlfriend understand my concerns. -- ALONE IN THE REAL WORLD
DEAR ALONE: People cannot be two places at once. When relationships aren't nurtured, they wither. If this has been going on for an extended period, then it's time you give your girlfriend a wake-up call: You feel abandoned. By spending more time in the virtual world than in the real one, she is neglecting her relationship with you.
Ask her if she would be willing to work on a compromise so that she spends time with you. If she can't do that, and the Internet is giving her everything she needs, then you should find a lady who is willing to give you more of what you need, which is undivided attention.
DEAR ABBY: If a person compliments me on my hair, am I obliged to reveal that it isn't my natural color? I am a henna redhead, and it looks very natural, but my friend who is a natural redhead says I have to fess up. She will even tell people "for me" that my color is "fake." What should I do? -- HENNA REDHEAD IN NEW YORK
DEAR HENNA REDHEAD: Start spending more time with blondes and brunettes than with a redhead who doesn't know when to keep her mouth shut. She is jealous of the attention you're getting.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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