• Dear Abby: Extra place set at the table helps combat the holiday blues

    By Abigail van Buren -

    DEAR ABBY: I read that there is a suicide somewhere in the world every 40 seconds. Numbers rise at holiday time. Feeling like a child whose nose is pressed against a window, seeing others from the outside as they enjoy the warmth of the moment, can lead to thoughts of abandonment and despair. That’s why I have a mission — I set an extra place at my table.

    I can attest that it works. One year I announced in church that my home would be open to anyone who didn’t have a family. A woman came forward and accepted my invitation. We spent the day getting to know each other and bonded in friendship.

    Please encourage your readers to set an extra place at their holiday table. My brother committed suicide. I move forward in his honor. — FULL OF GRATITUDE IN PHOENIX

    DEAR FULL OF GRATITUDE: Please accept my sympathy for the tragic loss of your brother. I’m pleased to help spread the word. Isolation can be a killer, and inclusion can be a lifesaver. Bless you for what you are doing. I hope other readers will consider it and follow your example.

    DEAR ABBY: I have a dilemma I don’t know how to maneuver through. I have been working as an intern at a company for about 18 months. During the summer, I completed a test I needed to become fully licensed in my field.

    However, I’m still working in my current position at intern wages, although I have repeatedly requested a meeting with my employer to talk money. He continues to say he doesn’t have time, and we will discuss it later. He even agreed to a time on a certain day but failed to show up for the meeting. When I emailed him the amount I want, he replied, “We’ll talk about it later.” Should I continue to press the issue? Call him? Email? Or just look for other work? — CONCERNED ABOUT MONEY

    DEAR CONCERNED: You have done enough. Pushing your employer further won’t help. The ball is now in his court. Start quietly looking for another job — one in which your skills will be appropriately compensated.

    DEAR ABBY: How can I tactfully tell an elementary school teacher in whose class I assist that she uses poor grammar and words that aren’t words (i.e., “I boughten this yesterday,” or, “Her and me went to the soccer game.”)? I am fond of this teacher but feel she’s doing a disservice to her pupils. Other than that she’s a devoted, energetic teacher. It is really difficult to bite my tongue. — TACTFUL IN THE EAST

    DEAR TACTFUL: Children model their behavior after the example the adults around them provide. That a teacher would consistently do what she’s doing in a classroom setting is shocking. How could she have become a licensed educator with such poor English skills?

    Politically speaking, I don’t think that as her subordinate you should take it upon yourself to correct the woman. I do think this is something you should discuss with the school principal.

    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 dearabby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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