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Neighbor’s critical husband creates friction between friends

Dear Abby: My friend "Eden" recently told me her husband constantly compares her to me. It came up because she asked how I was feeling in my first trimester of pregnancy, and I confided that I have been having a tough time keeping up with my household duties.

Instead of sympathizing, she said, "Wow! I'll have to tell my husband that, because he's always talking about how clean your house is and how you cook dinner for your family every night."

I was really hurt that she was taking pleasure in my failures. I also felt uncomfortable that her husband compares her unfavorably to me. It isn't the first time she has mentioned how he talks about me.

I have distanced myself, hoping things would get better, but when I see her, she invariably manages to get in a little "dig." I'm unsure how to handle this. We're neighbors and have mutual friends. I thought we were friends, but now I realize she harbors some resentment toward me for something I didn't cause. Help! – No Contest in Maryland

Dear No Contest: Unless Eden's husband stops using you as the cudgel to beat her down with, you can forget being friends. A way to handle it would be to talk to her husband and say, "Please stop comparing me to your wife because it is affecting our friendship!"

Dear Abby: Whenever my best friend smells a cough drop, she comments that it's "rude" to eat one in public and that if someone is sick, the person should stay home.

I would much rather smell someone's cough drop than listen to coughing during an entire movie or opera. Some people may have bought expensive tickets to a show only to get sick the day before or have allergies that cause them to cough.

So is it rude to eat a cough drop in public or not? – Unbothered in Texas

Dear Unbothered: If it was bad manners to pop a cough drop into one's mouth in public, more than a few large brands would be out of business. While I agree with your friend that if people are sick they should stay home, some coughs linger beyond the stage when they are contagious.

I do NOT think that because someone bought expensive tickets to an event and gets sick the day before that it's all right to attend anyway and risk infecting everyone within "cough-shot." The considerate thing to do is to cancel and ask for a refund.

Dear Abby: I have a friend in another state who has been posting on Facebook about her diagnosis of cancer. Her postings started in October, followed by more postings about delay after delay in the treatment.

First it was insurance – she doesn't have any. Then it was multiple CAT scans and PETs. Now she's planning her own fundraiser, and I'm beginning to think she has made the whole thing up. It looks like there will be no treatment until after the fundraiser, even though she claims the cancer is stage 4. What do you think? _ Suspicious in New York

Dear Suspicious: I think that if there is any doubt in your mind about this woman's character, you should not contribute. And I also think that if your suspicions are true, your friend is planning to commit fraud and could wind up "recuperating" in prison.

To My Jewish Readers: Why is tonight different from every other night? Because Passover begins at sundown. Happy Passover, everyone!

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.

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