Dear Abby: My girlfriend watches the 24-hour news channels and seems to be obsessed with them. It is hurting our relationship and affecting her happiness. She’s constantly worried about national and international politics, global warming, the economy, health care, crime, etc. She neglects herself and her family. She seems agitated, anxious and depressed by all the news.
Is this a disease? How can I help her get off this habit? What should I do?
– Miserable in Minnesota
Dear Miserable: Your girlfriend appears to have become a news junkie. She’s overstimulated and hooked on the adrenaline rush she gets from channel surfing from one tragedy, outrage and horror to the next. While this may not technically be a disease, it IS exhausting and depressing.
When the same thing started happening to me, I fixed it by turning off the news and going “cold turkey.” After a four-day news blackout, I felt like my buoyant self again. Now I ration my exposure. Please share this with your girlfriend because it’s what I’m recommending for her.
Stress over stained shirt
Dear Abby: At a wedding, while shaking hands with a friend, I accidentally bumped another friend’s wine glass, staining his $180 shirt. The stain is a small one, on the lower portion and not very noticeable. Now the man insists I pay for the shirt.
Is there an etiquette rule on this issue? I feel bad, but not bad enough that I think I should pay for such an expensive shirt. If you have the means to pay for a shirt that expensive, I don’t believe you should expect others to replace it.
– Chris in Denver
Dear Chris: Good manners dictate that you offer to pay for having the shirt cleaned. A good dry cleaner may be able to remove the stain, but it should be done as soon as possible. Anytime a person has a stained garment, it should be taken to a professional and what caused the stain identified so it can be removed. Trying to treat it yourself can make removal more difficult.
If the stain is permanent, then you should pay to replace the shirt. Ask yourself what’s more important – 180 bucks or your friendship?
A potluck party
Dear Abby: My husband and I are approaching our 25th anniversary. We don’t have a lot of money to spend on a large party (our sons are 14 and 17). Are there inexpensive solutions? I’d prefer not to have it at our house.
– Stumped in Georgia
Dear Stumped: Because you don’t want to entertain at your home, consider holding the celebration at a park, limiting the guest list and making it a potluck.