Dear Annie: I am a woman and am deeply attracted to a good friend, also female. We have begun watching a racy TV show together at my home, and it's becoming very uncomfortable for me to watch it with her. I find myself wondering whether I should instead offer to loan her the DVDs so she can watch them on her own. If so, do I need to explain why?
She has told me over the course of our friendship that she is eschewing romantic relationships until she is in a healthier frame of mind, which I support, and that she plans to move in six months or so. I have a young son and am not interested in a temporary entanglement. I do not want to alienate my friend and am wondering what course of action is least likely to put a crimp in our friendship. — Crushing
Dear Crushing: Is it possible that your friend is interested in you romantically? If you think that might be the case, you should tell her that you are attracted to her and see what happens. However, if that is too emotionally frightening and you fear it will end the friendship, you need to stop these incendiary "dates" in whatever way removes the intimacy from your get-togethers.
Offer her the DVDs and say that you are tired of watching this show. You could suggest an alternate TV program that is less racy or invite more people over so it's not only the two of you. You could meet at a local coffee shop or restaurant to chat. You do not have to bare your soul to her if it makes you uncomfortable, but it means you must stop putting yourself in this compromising position.
Dear Annie: My father recently informed me of some dark family history that happened years ago. I already felt disconnected from his side of the family, but now I feel ashamed to be a part of these secrets and dishonorable behavior.
I am considering changing my surname. I suspect my father will be angry that I'm giving up the family name, and I realize that my name doesn't necessarily reflect on me, but going through life connected to those bad things seems like a worse option. What do you think? — Shady Family Business
Dear Shady: Unless your family name is particularly recognizable, it is unlikely that anyone will connect you to these dark deeds. However, if you wish to change your name as a protest against your father's family, that is up to you. But be prepared for his reaction and willing to face the consequences.
Dear Annie: "Doing It Myself" asked for advice about his mother, who has dementia. She wanted to stay in her home.
I am a retired Adult Protective Services social worker whose job was to investigate adult abuse, neglect and exploitation. I cannot tell you how many times I investigated a report in the home and knew as soon as I saw the caregiver that the person had a history of violence.
I have told my children that I want to remain in my own home only if I can recognize it as my own and the information I give them is reliable. (Dementia patients often report thievery or abuse when it does not exist.) Otherwise, I want to be in a nursing home. There is a much greater chance that abuse or neglect will be witnessed in a nursing facility.
When the patient's family hires a caregiver, it is important that they go through a licensed reliable service that screens their employees. They should never look through the classified ads for an individual to care for a loved one. — Been There
This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2013. 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.