Dear Abby: What's the best thing to do when someone insults me for being myself? My hair has been bright blue for the last two semesters of college. I like it. I'm young, and my family is letting me express my "wild" side while I'm in school.
Six months ago I went to meet my ex-boyfriend's mother, and the first thing she said to me was, "You're one of my son's phases, right? Boys don't actually bring girls with blue hair home to Mama." Abby, it was with my ex's encouragement that I dyed my hair this bright color.
My family, my church and most of my teachers think it's OK. Is there a social stigma attached to exotically dyed hair? And what's the best way to react when someone insults me for just being myself?
Nice Person In Walland, Tenn.
Dear Nice Person: Whether there's a stigma attached to looking different depends on who is doing the looking. Some people — your ex-boyfriend's mother, for instance — find it off-putting. Did you tell her that it was with her son's encouragement that you dyed your hair blue? It would have been interesting to see her reaction. It would also be interesting to know what shade his current girlfriend's hair is.
When others comment about the unusual color of your hair, instead of treating it as an insult, smile and say, "Don't judge a book by its cover." Then change the subject.
Dear Abby: My husband and I have been married for 26 years. I love him, but he's a terrible listener. He's not that way with everyone. When we're out socializing, he's a good conversationalist and a polite listener. It's when we are home that he never lets me finish a sentence. When we're alone, I can't express a complete opinion or thought without being interrupted halfway through a word or sentence. He just cuts me off and starts talking on the subject.
I'm an intelligent woman with valid opinions, but he would rather hear the sound of his own voice than mine. How do I get him to let me speak and not interrupt?
Silenced In Illinois
Dear Silenced: Is your husband controlling in other aspects of your relationship? If not, the problem may be that you have been together so long he thinks he knows where your sentences are going, so he responds before you complete your entire thought. One way to handle this would be to tell your husband how patronized it makes you feel when he does it. Another would be to interrupt HIM by saying, "Excuse me! I wasn't finished talking." Or, "You finished my sentence, but that wasn't what I was going to say. What I meant was ..."
Dear Abby: My sister, "Beth," and I are very close, but a constant source of contention is her boyfriend, "Brody." Beth and Brody have broken up several times, and each time it happens, she fills me in on every horrible thing he has ever done.
They always seem to get back together, and then Beth expects me to like him despite everything I know. Does the fact that she forgives and forgets mean that I have to do the same?
Too Much Info In Ohio
Dear Too Much Info: No, it doesn't. But you should be civil, even if you're not warm and friendly. Then cross your fingers and hope your sister recognizes less drama is healthier and the relationship ends soon.
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Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.