DEAR ABBY: I’ve known “Zigi” since second grade. We’ve stayed in touch over the years, although more sporadically over the past two decades. Until 10 years ago he spent a week with us in the summer. He came three different times and we had fun. We also visited her twice in California. I was married, but childless at the time. Shortly after the birth of our first child, she started dating – and then living with – her boyfriend. I’m glad she’s happy with him.
Shortly after they started dating, Gigi asked to come visit and I agreed, but said they would have to sleep in separate rooms at my house. He said yes, and I don’t think he was surprised because he’s known me for so long. However, the plans didn’t pan out (his schedule, he said) and they didn’t come. That was five years ago.
We were recently on the phone and he asked out. I told her I was glad to finally meet her boyfriend and we set up a date. Neither mentioned the sleep settings, but I feel like I might need to clarify again. I do not judge her, but I have made a decision that in my house I should never feel uncomfortable. Sharing the same room would make me uncomfortable.
During the conversation five years ago, I told Gigi that if sleeping apart made them uncomfortable, we could see each other during the day and they could arrange to stay in a hotel or at home some other friend. She hasn’t mentioned her plans this time, but right now it sounds like they plan to stay here. What should I do? — UTAH HOUSE RULES
DEAR RULES: Since Gigi and her boyfriend sharing a bedroom in your house would make you feel uncomfortable, call her and explain that while they’re welcome, your feelings about sleeping haven’t changed. This is not a conversation to have upon their arrival.
DEAR ABBY: What’s the best way to discard handshakes? In social settings, I often find myself ready to dine, hands washed and sanitized, only to have someone thrust their hand toward me expecting a handshake. The last thing I want before handling my food is to shake anyone’s hand.
On one occasion, a man hosting the gathering with his wife casually returned from a bike ride as we approached the dinner table and offered me his sweaty hand. My refusal elicited a dirty look from my partner and a confused expression on the biker’s face. Please advise. — KEEPING CLEAN IN THE WEST
LOVE KEEP CLEAN: If that’s okay with you, you’re not the only person who doesn’t like handshakes. Over the years, I have received letters from many others who share your concern. Some are afraid of COVID. others simply dislike physical contact. (In some cultures, shaking hands is never done.) Some people avoid it by placing their palms together, leaning forward slightly, smiling, and saying something like, “Nice to see you!” or, in your case, “So how was that bike ride?” If you don’t already, keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer on your person to use when you’re out of options.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, aka Jeanne Phillips, and founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.