SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Lifestyle

November 22, 2012

Dear Abby: Mom and daughter disconnect over phone-answering etiquette

:Dear Abby: My daughter thinks if people are busy, they should not answer the phone. I believe it’s better to answer and tell the person you’re busy and that you will return their call. Sometimes she doesn’t call me back for nine hours or even the next day. Then I find out she was watching a movie or walking her dog and didn’t think my call was “important” enough to respond promptly. As her mother, if I don’t hear back, I start to worry, even though she’s in her 20s and married with a family.

When she calls me and I say I’m busy and will call her back, she gets mad and says I shouldn’t have answered at all. Will you please tell us what you think?

Kari in Montana

Dear Kari: OK. I think that for your daughter to keep you waiting nine hours for a return call if she can answer more promptly shows a lack of respect for your feelings. And for you to obsess that something awful might have happened is a waste of your time because, trust me, bad news travels fast. It’s also possible that you may be calling too often. But only you can answer that.

Dear Abby: Some members of my family continually ask me for money. I feel obligated because they are family, and they helped me in the past. But since then, I have turned my life around.

I have a great job and home and I’m in a serious relationship. This isn’t the first time they have asked. I have tried refusing, but they persist, and after a while, I feel guilty.

This is creating a rift between my girlfriend and me. She feels these family members need to take responsibility for their own problems and make choices to better themselves rather than rely on others to enable their bad habits. How do I put an end to this annoyance?

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