Carolyn is off for the Thanksgiving holiday. The following are excerpts from fall 2001 live online discussions on

Dear Carolyn:

Long story short: Woman falls hard for man who does not return feelings. They have many mutual friends and so woman works hard to be friends. On the periphery of the mutual friends is very good friend of woman. Friend and man hook up, woman takes it hard. Friend and man break up, friend takes it hard. Woman and man are still friends, friend occasionally drops hints to find out if woman and man are hooking up. Woman is tired of listening to this fear, as it is bed friend made for herself. Your thoughts?

-- Berkeley, Calif. Advice columnist finds story annoying and hard to follow, but will venture that woman should just bring topic out into the open next time friend drops one of her silly infantile hints. Otherwise someone might be reduced to passing notes in class and woman can't let it come to that.

Hi Carolyn!

I hope you can help. My sister's pregnant and demanding things of people, just not me yet. Example -- Mom can never smoke around the baby or even smoke outside while it's sleeping. Fine, I understand it's her kid and she calls the shots, but if you don't do what she says, then you will never see the kid. Flashback to her wedding a few years ago -- I threw her a bridal shower, gave very nice gifts for shower and wedding, etc. Very minimal appreciation. Baby shower is soon.

And when the baby comes, what is the proper etiquette of visiting my sister in hospital? (And can this etiquette be swayed because of past offenses?) Also, next time she shows no appreciation or acts bitchy, any smart remarks to get my point across?

-- Washington, D.C.

Ugh, I thought we established this isn't a smart-remarks drive-thru. SAY what you have to SAY, okay? "You make a lot of demands of me, and it hurts me when you then show little or no gratitude for what I do."

As for her demands of people who aren't you, they really aren't your problem. Especially when your sister is absolutely [bleeping] right -- NO ONE should smoke around BABIES, AAAGH. Not even around children. (Not even around adults, but adults have more room-leaving options.) If it bugs you that she pushes your mom around in general, you can always say, "Hey, lay off Mom, she's trying." Or you can let your grown-woman mom fight her own battles.

As for when you visit momma and baby, go when you want to and can (unless you "want to" choose a time that best satisfies your grudge-holding needs). If you've got a problem with her, either address it or start accepting that she's your sister, and you won't always like what she does, and you just have to deal with her on terms you can stand.


I am guilty of having not sent out all of my thank-you notes from our wedding in June. Have I completely violated the bounds of common courtesy, or is there some hope left if I get them in the mail soon?

-- Speaking of Wedding Responses

It doesn't matter now, just get the things in the mail.

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