Dear Abby:

A woman I have known for 10 years has different political beliefs from mine. I haven't viewed this as a reason to end the friendship; I just don't bring up the subject of politics with her. She, on the other hand, constantly "slams" my beliefs, in person and via e-mail. I have recently received several offensive letters from her. I didn't respond and she keeps prodding me for a reaction. Believe me, she doesn't want to hear what I have to say about her behavior. I have asked her to stop pushing her opinions on me and still she persists.

I feel that her antics are extremely disrespectful, and I'm to the point of ending communication with her altogether. What have you to say on this issue?

Harassed in Houston

Tell her that the subject of politics is "verboten" until after the election. There's a reason for that old warning, "Don't discuss sex, religion or politics." It can end friendships. She's not going to change your views, and you aren't going to change hers. Although she may be doing this to get a rise out of you, it's disrespectful and a touch malicious.

Dear Abby:

My husband and I adopted two daughters from China. They are now 3 and 4 years old. Time and again, people ask if the girls are "real sisters."

My daughters are proud to be Chinese, and they know each other only as sisters. In time, they will understand the circumstances surrounding their birth. An adopted child from China has no means of finding any history about his/her birth parents.

What do you recommend answering when we're asked if the girls are "real sisters"?

Lucky Mom in Michigan

There seems to be no limit to the questions people feel entitled to ask when they see families who are multiracial. Your daughters became "real sisters" the minute you adopted them, and I see no reason why you should tell anyone otherwise.

Dear Abby:

This guy asked me out. I was going to refuse, but he showed up at my door with flowers and I couldn't say no. Now I feel guilty, but I can't possibly tell him. What should I do?

Stuck in New York

A lady keeps her word. Since you accepted his invitation -- and his flowers -- you go on the date. If he asks you out again, you tell him it's not a good idea because you consider him a friend, not a romantic interest.

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, Calif. 90069.

(c)2004, Universal Press Syndicate