Dear Abby:

"Lindsey" and I are co-workers. We have known each other nearly 10 years. We slept together on a recent business trip and I agreed to keep it between us. I didn't keep my promise and it got back to Lindsey.

She is terribly hurt, and sadly, I can't undo the wrong I've done. As a result, I have lost a friend and will always regret what I did.

Lindsey told me she had denied that anything happened between us to the person who approached her. She asked me to do the same and say that it was all a joke -- that I had made up the story about our being together.

I know I betrayed her trust after I promised her I wouldn't speak to anyone about it. I feel she's justified in her anger toward me and is right to have ended our friendship. But I don't think it's a good idea for me to compound the situation with a lie. I don't see how it would make things better. Should I grant her this favor?

Mr. Big Mouth in Brooklyn

Yes, you should grant her this favor. There's an old saying: A gentleman doesn't kiss and tell. Considering the damage you have done to your friend's reputation by crowing, a little white lie is not too much to ask.

Dear Abby:

I am a 21-year-old, happily married woman. "Nolan" and I were married in 2002 and only recently informed my parents. Two years ago, I just wanted to be married to Nolan. I knew my family would not approve, so we eloped. Nolan's family knew about our elopement and are happy for us.

We planned to have a large family wedding "later." I have been planning my perfect wedding since I was 5.

Now my grandmother says that having a reception would be a good idea, but a "wedding" with a dress and attendants would be in very bad taste. I disagree -- but am I being selfish? I love my family, but I am going to have only one ceremony in my life.

I was thinking we could have it in the church and I could have bridesmaids and everything. I won't wear white -- my gown would be ivory. What do you think?

Married "Bride-to-Be"

Your grandmother is a wise lady, and you should listen to her because she's right. A reception to celebrate your marriage would be far more tasteful than staging the wedding you skipped when you eloped. However, if and when you and Nolan decide to renew your vows -- perhaps on your fifth anniversary -- the ceremony you have in mind would be more appropriate at that time.

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