DEAR ABBY: I have a problem. Basically, I don't like me. I am self-conscious about my weight, my face, my personality. I'm not pretty. I have heard so many times I should "just be myself" that I am sick of it! I don't want to be myself because I don't like myself.
All of my friends are either beautiful, witty, kind or whatever. And I am not, I guess. Please tell me what to do about it. -- COMING UP SHORT IN OREGON
DEAR COMING UP SHORT: I do have a few suggestions, and the first is to stop being your own worst enemy. The more you dwell on what you think you lack, the more you will amplify those things. Find one thing you like about yourself and build from there.
Because you're self-conscious about your weight, do something about it by adopting a healthy eating and exercise plan. While you may not be a cover girl, you can be well-groomed. More important than being "witty" is to be a good listener. Remember that, and people will think you are a great conversationalist.
The more you brood about yourself, the lonelier you will become. The more you think about helping others, the less time you will have to think about yourself.
DEAR ABBY: My wife and I are in our mid-40s and have four beautiful daughters. A boy who dated one of them has become a family friend over the past few years.
"Brett" is a nice young man and has always been helpful with our family. The problem is, Brett texts and calls my wife on a daily basis. The conversation is benign, but I can tell he has a crush on her.
I have asked my wife to stop communicating with him so often, but she insists it's "just a friendship" and nothing is going on. My point is that there is something going on -- from his side -- even though she may not realize it.
We have gone round and round about this to the point of exhaustion. Should I let this go or continue to insist that their relationship be redefined? -- UNEASY IN FLORIDA
DEAR UNEASY: Looking from the outside in, I suspect that your wife is enjoying all the attention she's receiving from this young man. She's in her mid-40s and it has to be flattering. This is not to imply that the communications will lead to anything more. So step back, find your sense of humor and try to be less heavy-handed until this blows over. Because it will.
DEAR ABBY: My stepfather died recently. I found out when I saw his obituary in the newspaper. It described him as a "loving husband and father," and while I know that's a fairly generic epitaph, nothing about it is true. He was an alcoholic who had several affairs while married to my mother. He also abused me and my stepsiblings physically and sexually.
It's bad enough that he died without having to face the consequences of his actions, but it kills me to know that "loving husband and father" is how our community and history will remember him now that he's gone. Is there anything I can do to get some form of the truth out there? -- ANGRY IN TENNESSEE
DEAR ANGRY: Yes, there is. Just keep talking and the word will get around.
DEAR READERS: To those of you living where daylight saving time is observed, I'm offering this gentle reminder: Turn your clocks forward one hour at bedtime tonight. Daylight saving time begins at 2 a.m. tomorrow, and you know what that means -- spring is on the way!
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.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)