DEAR ABBY: I’m a 21-year-old nursing student in college. I’m a “people person” and everyone says I’m easy to talk to. According to my friends, I am pretty, smart, funny, etc., but I have never had a boyfriend.
I was extremely sick throughout high school and during my early college years, and spent a lot of time in and out of the hospital. I missed not only a lot of schooling, but also learning some of the basic social skills most people my age have mastered when it comes to dating. It has been only during the last couple of years that I have been healthy enough to even consider dating, and now I have no clue what to do.
I am naturally friendly and sometimes guys I’m not interested in think I’m flirting with them. However, when I try to flirt with a guy, it never works. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, and my friends all gave me different advice. Do you have any tips for me, Dear Abby, on how to let a guy know I’m interested? — LOSING THE DATING GAME IN FLORIDA
DEAR LOSING: Yes. Be your outgoing, friendly self with everyone. Don’t be afraid to smile and make eye contact. That’s the way you let others know you’re interested. The problem with “trying” to flirt is that it can come across as awkward and aggressive, which can either bring you the wrong kind of attention or scare a man off.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been married 38 years. He doesn’t drink, smoke, do drugs or chase women. He’s a good guy. But ... Twenty years ago we stopped giving each other gifts on all occasions because he didn’t like shopping for me. I let him off the hook and said I didn’t really mind. However, on his birthday I take him to his favorite seafood restaurant and bake him his favorite cake. My birthday gets forgotten.
There is a special dessert that I love that is found only at a bakery across town. I have told him for the past 10 years how much I’d love that dessert for my birthday. He has never once bought it for me. I feel it’s like he’s telling me I’m not worth the time or money. For such a small thing, it hurts my feelings a lot. Am I being silly? — SLIGHTED IN INDIANA
DEAR SLIGHTED: You’re not being silly. You were being silly when you told your husband 20 years ago that you didn’t mind if he ignored your birthday and other special occasions, because it wasn’t true (or perhaps the effect on you has been cumulative). So, open your mouth and tell your husband exactly what you want from him. If you don’t, you’ll get the same thing you have been getting, which is nothing.
DEAR ABBY: I’m 13 and in junior high school. When we all came back after a break we were greeted with the news that one of the students in our class had died. We were only told that the death was “ruled an accident,” but nothing else. Is it wrong or disrespectful to speculate what happened to our classmate? — CURIOUS IN THE NORTHWEST
DEAR CURIOUS: Speculating is neither wrong nor disrespectful. When people are given no information, it is normal for them to wonder. After the death of your classmate, I’m surprised grief counseling wasn’t offered to help you and your fellow students deal with the loss, because that is what should have happened.