DEAR ABBY: I am a gay male. My sister, "Cate," is in what appears outwardly to be a committed relationship, but I know for a fact it isn't.
Her boyfriend, "Darren," invited me out for coffee a few days ago, and while he was discussing some of their relationship troubles, he told me he isn't sure that he's straight. He then proceeded to say he could easily see himself dating me!
I don't know what to do. I want to tell Cate, but I don't want to wreck her relationship. The other problem is, I also feel attracted to Darren, but it's not my place to pursue him. Any advice would be helpful. — IN A BIND IN NEW YORK
DEAR IN A BIND: Your sister's relationship with Darren was "wrecked" the minute he told you that he isn't certain he's heterosexual and that he has his eye on you. If you and Darren were to become involved, it would likely devastate Cate, and I don't recommend it. Talk to Darren and tell him it's time to come clean with Cate. Then, if he doesn't, a loyal sibling should tell his sister before she wastes any more time on this boyfriend.
DEAR ABBY: I supervise someone I'll call "Kevin." He is lazy, and his work is so sloppy he should have been fired long ago. I and many supervisors before me have tried to no avail to motivate him, but we work in government, and he knows how to game the system. Our unit's reputation has suffered because of Kevin. For reasons beyond my control, we are stuck working together.
I supervise another person who is retiring soon, and I would like to help plan his retirement party. Kevin is also nearing retirement age. When Kevin finally leaves, am I obligated to plan a retirement party for him? He has never lifted a finger for anybody, and he sure doesn't deserve a party honoring the fact that he sat in a chair for 30 years. Or should I not help plan either party? — STUCK SUPERVISOR
DEAR STUCK: Unless party-planning is part of your job designation, you are not obligated to arrange one for Kevin if you prefer not to, considering what a problem he has been for your unit. A party later celebrating the welcoming of "new staff" would probably go over better.
DEAR ABBY: I've been invited to go away with my son's family, and I don't want to do it. I have done it before, and it never goes well because of my son's mouth. I think he may have an anger issue, but if I say anything to him about it, he gets angry. I can't tolerate his language, and he says he can't change.
I want to be with my grandchildren, but his mouth and his attitude make me timid and uncomfortable, and I end up wishing I were home. I told him I was sorry I couldn't go and why. He says his family is happy, and I should just let it roll off, but I feel I have a right not to be subjected to a week of constant cursing. It feels abusive. Am I wrong? — WISHING IT WERE DIFFERENT
DEAR WISHING: If the bad language is directed at another person, it IS abusive and disrespectful. If it is used as an adjective, it is "merely" grating and unpleasant. A vacation is supposed to be a time to relax and enjoy oneself. Because you feel your son's language is so bad it would prevent you from doing that, you should not subject yourself to it.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.