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OPINION | DEAR ABBY: Discovery of neighbor’s past shocks new friend

by Abigail Van Buren | December 17, 2021 at 1:00 a.m.

Dear Abby: I recently learned my neighbor shot and killed her two young kids (14 and 2) more than 20 years ago and served only half of her prison sentence. The newspaper said she called the police herself, confessed and was arrested and incarcerated.

I have only known her two years. She’s reserved and keeps to herself. She seems paranoid, but she has warmed up to me because we both dabble in art. I don’t know how to feel about her. This was a horrendous act, and I’m having a hard time processing. What are your thoughts? — Perplexed In The South

Dear Perplexed: Why did you find it necessary to research your neighbor? Did someone suggest it, or do you do that with all of your neighbors? If what you discovered is indeed true, there must be a good reason why she was freed after serving only half her sentence. I think, because you have questions, the person you should ask is her.

Dear Abby: I have known my ex’s friend for more than 12 years. Long story short, we are now “friends with benefits.” When I stay over, he almost always portrays himself as a good catch, but when it’s time to act like one outside his home, he doesn’t. He says, “Dating is too hard,” and “We should take it one day at a time.” He constantly tells me I will make “someone” a good wife and that I should have no problem finding someone. Must I just enjoy the best benefits I have ever had, or should I move on? — Conflicted In Massachusetts

Dear Conflicted: Much depends upon what you really want. If what you want is a husband, children and a future, you should take this man’s advice and find “someone” other than him. If it’s great sex and nothing more, you must decide whether you want to stick around. No one can decide that for you.

Dear Abby: My friend of many years makes a habit around her birthday of getting as much free food as she can from restaurants and stores. She brags to me about how much stuff she got. Her husband does the same thing around his birthday. Neither one works, and both of them live on Social Security. They are not poor; they travel often. Is this extreme resourcefulness or is it more like greed and gluttony? I’m leaning toward the latter. — Biting My Tongue In Texas

Dear Biting: I am leaning toward the former. This couple is taking advantage of what is offered. They are not harming anyone, many people do it. It’s common practice, and there is nothing wrong with it. Businesses make these offers available for promotional purposes. Your relationship with these dear friends will last a lot longer if you judge them less.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles,CA 90069 or visit


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