Dear Carolyn:

Is there a way to handle being rude when you're asleep? My hubby has repeatedly gotten angry at me for being rude when he tried to wake me up. Ninety-nine percent of the time I have no recollection of speaking to him, or of his trying to wake me. I apologize when he tells me later, when I'm awake, that I told him to "buzz off," but I don't see how I can change anything when I'm unconscious.

-- Bad Sleep-Talker

You can't. Which is why what you really need is a way to handle being scapegoated when you're awake.

But since all your husband would have to do to solve this problem is either to anticipate the "buzz off" and not take it personally, or to stop waking you up, the real need here is for an effective way to handle someone who would rather get angry at things he can't change (your behavior) instead of changing what he can (his behavior).

And if such a thing existed, we'd have a cure for jealousy, domestic abuse and road rage, and we'd be making headway on acute Little League parentitis. So, good luck.

In the meantime, all you can do is explain your point kindly, ask his forbearance and hope you didn't marry a doink.

Dear Carolyn:

There is a girl in my office, let's call her "Ann." Her sister-in-law, "Beth," works in the same building. Several months ago a guy, "Carl," joined our office. I noticed that Beth comes to our office to visit Carl in the evening when everybody is leaving. I have also noticed they take the afternoon off to go on long walks. I did mention to Ann that her sister-in-law seems to be in our office a lot visiting Carl, and she said her sister-in-law tells her husband she is at work in the evenings when she is actually with this guy. Please advise what my position should be on this?

-- Anonymous

Your position should be: shocked, appalled, saddened and wildly relieved this possible affair is absolutely none of your affair.

It never was. I'm sorry your mentionings and Ann's blabbings gave you even the remotest impression otherwise. Get back to work.

Dear Carolyn:

Not too long ago I was talking to a close female friend. She somehow coaxed me to tell her that I am interested in a mutual friend. I think she was hoping, unfortunately, that I would say I was interested in her instead. Now all she can tell me are reasons I wouldn't match with the mutual friend (I know we would). It's become awkward between us, and I can't really talk to her anymore. What can I do?

-- J.

Coax her into talking about why she keeps talking about why you wouldn't match with the mutual friend. (Immaterial side note: You don't "know" you would match with anyone until you get there.) That you aren't attracted to this close female friend -- and that you're attracted instead to another -- can be traced to any number of sources, from body type to tone of voice to family background. But saying you can't really talk to her anymore traces only to one thing: the quality of your friendship. If she matters at all, speak up.

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