SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

April 14, 2014

Dear Abby: Communication online lacks personal touch

Dear Abby
The Salem News

---- — Dear Abby: I recently exchanged pleasantries via email and text messaging with a lady I met on a website. One day later, I received a message from her stating she’d prefer our method of communication be kept to email and texting because she wasn’t much of a phone talker.

Over the past few months, I have been out a number of times with other women who also expressed their preference to keep communication limited to email and texting. Is this becoming common?

I may be old-fashioned because I feel interpersonal relationships — especially initially — should include the element of voice inflection. I think it’s more effective than a guessing game that only a full page of text can provide. Am I wrong?

Wants To Talk In Reno

Dear Wants To Talk: I don’t think you are wrong, and I happen to agree with you. I, too, usually learn more from a spoken conversation than from an email or text because I can distinguish whether the person is joking or being serious. But you and I are becoming the minority. Today, many younger people feel more comfortable communicating online — at least initially.

Dear Abby: My husband recently returned to the family business to become the general manager. He is in control of hiring new employees, and he recently told me they need to hire more people. I have mentioned several times my interest in working there as an administrative assistant. However, my husband either changes the subject or gets angry when I ask about it.

It hurts my feelings that I am the person raising his children but am not good enough to work in the family business! I also know it’s not because of lack of experience. This makes me question the strength and value of our marriage.

Hurt Feelings In Oregon

Dear Hurt Feelings: While I can see that you might be disappointed, what I regard as your problem may be the lack of honest communication between you and your husband. He may have reasons for preferring you not work in the family business that have nothing to do with the strength or value of your marriage. It might be that he is new in his position as general manager, that working in ANY family business can be stressful, that he’d prefer separation between his working life and his family life, or that other family members might object.

Let the subject rest for a while, and when you do raise it again, try to do it in a nonconfrontational manner. If you do, he may be more open and less defensive with you about what his reasons are. And if you would prefer to work outside the home in addition to raising the children, consider submitting your resumes to other companies.

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.

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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.