DEAR ABBY: I have known “Gigi” since the second grade. We’ve kept in touch over the years, though more frequently in the last two decades. Until 10 years ago, he spent a week with us in the summer. Came three different times and we had fun. We also visited him twice in California. I was married but childless at the time. Shortly after our first child was born, she started seeing her boyfriend and then moved in with him. I am happy that he is happy with her.
Shortly after they started dating, Gigi asked to come visit, and I agreed, but I said they had to sleep in separate rooms at my house. He said yes and I don’t think he was surprised as he has known me for a long time. But plans didn’t work out (his schedule, he said) and they didn’t show up. That was five years ago.
We were talking on the phone recently and he asked about going out. I told him I was glad to finally meet his girlfriend and we set a date. Neither of us mentioned sleep arrangements, but I feel it should be clarified again. I don’t judge him, but I decided that I should never be disturbed in my house. It would bother me if they shared the same room.
During a conversation five years ago, I told Gigi that if they were uncomfortable sleeping apart, we could see each other during the day and they could arrange to stay at a hotel or at another friend’s house. He hasn’t revealed his plans this time, but now it looks like they’re here to stay. What do I have to do? — Home Rule in the State of Utah
Dear RULES: Since you’re still worried about Gigi and her boyfriend sharing a bedroom in your house, call her and explain that while they’re welcome, your feelings about the sleeping arrangements haven’t changed. Here it is no you have to discuss with their arrival.
DEAR ABBY: What’s the best way to decline handshakes? In social settings, I often find myself ready to eat, hands washed and cleaned, only for someone to extend their hand to me, expecting a handshake. The last thing I want before I manage my food is to shake someone’s hand.
In one instance, a man who was hosting a gathering with his wife returned late from a bike ride as he approached the dinner table and offered me a sweaty hand. Refusal elicited a dirty look from my companion and a look of confusion on the cyclist’s face. Please advise. — KEEPING CLEAN IN THE WEST
Dear CLEANING: If it’s any comfort, you’re far from the only person who doesn’t like shaking hands. Over the years I have received letters from many others who share your concern. Some fear COVID; others just don’t like physical contact. (In some cultures, handshaking is never done.) Some people put their palms together, lean forward slightly, smile, and say, “Nice to see you!” they avoid it by saying something like or in your case, “How was that bike ride?” If you don’t, keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer on hand to use when you run out of options.
Dear Abby was written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and created by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.