Dear Abby: I’ve known ‘Gigi’ since 8th grade. We have kept in touch over the years, albeit sporadically over the last 20 years, until 10 years ago she spent a week with us in the summer. We came three times and we enjoyed ourselves. I also visited her twice in California. I was married but had no children at the time.
Shortly after our first child was born, she started dating her boyfriend and then started living together.
Shortly after we started dating, Gigi asked me if I wanted to come see her and I agreed but she said we would have to sleep in separate rooms in my house. She’s known me for a long time, so she’s not surprised, she thinks. But plans didn’t work out (it was his schedule, she said) and they never came.
We were on the phone recently and she asked about coming out. She finally told him that she was happy to meet her boyfriend and agreed to go on her date. Neither of us mentioned sleeping arrangements, but I may need to clarify again. I decided not to. It would make me uncomfortable for them to share the same room.
In a conversation five years ago, I told Gigi that if sleeping separately was uncomfortable, we could arrange to see each other during the day and stay at a hotel or another friend’s house. She hasn’t mentioned her plans for this time, but for now it seems they’re going to stay here. What should I do? — Utah house rules
Dear Rule: It makes you uncomfortable for Gigi and her boyfriend to share a bedroom in your house, so call her and they are welcome, but how do you feel about sleeping arrangements? Explain that nothing has changed. This is not a discussion to have when they arrive.
Dear Abby: What’s the best way to decline a handshake? In a social setting, be ready to eat, wash and sanitize your hands, just for someone to stick their hand in me in anticipation of a handshake. The last thing I want to do before handling food is to shake someone’s hand.
In one instance, a man who was hosting a gathering with his wife came back late on his bicycle as we approached the dinner table and held out his sweaty hand to me. Refusal elicited a dirty look from my partner and a bewildered look on the cyclist’s face. — keep it clean in the west
Keep it clean dear: If this is any solace, you’re not the only one who hates shaking hands. Over the years I have received letters from many who share your concerns. Some fear COVID. Some people simply hate physical contact. (In some cultures there is no handshake.)
Some people avoid it by putting their palms together, leaning forward a little, smiling and saying things like “Nice to meet you!” Or, in your case, “So how was that bike ride?”
If you haven’t already done this, leave a small bottle of hand sanitizer on people to use when you don’t have the option.
Dear Abby was written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips.Dear Abby Contact www.DearAbby.com or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.