Dear Annie: My husband and I meet up with a group of family and close friends every week for lunch.
One couple in this group (a close family member and her spouse) constantly blow their noses during our get-togethers. They use cloth handkerchiefs, which are then reused multiple times, and her husband picks his nose, as well. It is nauseating to all of us, not to mention to other diners nearby. A few of the couples have told us they will not attend any more lunches unless absolutely necessary.
We do not want a family feud, but I think we need to do something before our social gatherings fall apart. The one with the most appalling manners is a college graduate with an excellent job. You would think he would know better, but it's difficult to tell him anything. How do we fix this without alienating them altogether? — Sickened and Frustrated
Dear Sickened: People who believe they are entitled to nauseate others because they have sinus issues are not likely to listen to anyone. Some friends and family tolerate these unpleasant encounters because they value the person enough to put up with the constant nose blowing, no matter how unappetizing. Yet these tolerated friends do not seem to give the same value to their companions' sensitivities. (There is no excuse for picking one's nose.)
While we understand and sympathize with folks who have terrible allergies and need to dab at their noses frequently, that is not the same as major nose and throat clearing where mucus exits the system. For those moments, a trip to the restroom is called for, even if that means absenting yourself from the table more often than you'd like. The other alternative, of course, is to meet at a place where you will not be eating. It's the combination of food and snot that makes this so unpleasant.
Dear Annie: This is for "Hopeless," who likes a boy who asked for her phone number, and now she is waiting for him to call, which he hasn't.
I could have written that letter. I, too, liked a guy, and after six months, he asked a mutual friend for my phone number. But he never called. Another six months went by while I waited. Finally, I asked him out.
It turns out, he was so shy he couldn't make the call. Even after we began dating, it took him three years to ask me to marry him because he was so afraid I'd turn him down — even though we were only seeing each other and I loved him.
So, I'd like to tell her to hang in there. Her guy may be terribly shy and inexperienced, so be patient and take it slow. If he's anything like my guy, he'll be worth the wait. We've been married for 30 years now and are still going strong. — Been There
Dear Been: A lot of young women don't realize that guys can be shy, no matter how sure of themselves they may seem on the surface. It takes courage to ask a girl out, and rejection can be hard to take. Women have lived with this for centuries, but we don't always consider that guys may have the same insecurities.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2015. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.