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OPINION | DEAR ABBY: Discovery of ring complicates imminent engagement

by Abigail Van Buren | October 21, 2021 at 1:00 a.m.

Dear Abby: Over the weekend, while I was cleaning and reorganizing our bedroom, I found the engagement ring my boyfriend plans on proposing with. I didn’t know he was planning to ask the big question, and I’m thrilled. I haven’t even hinted that I know anything is going on because I don’t want to ruin the surprise any more.

My problem is, I hate the ring he chose. It’s beautiful, but it’s so big. I like dainty jewelry. I don’t want to hurt his feelings. Please tell me what to do. — Disappointed In Illinois

Dear Disappointed: Congratulations on your upcoming engagement. Your problem is unique because most of the letters I receive about engagement rings come from women who are disappointed that the stone is so small. However, if the size of the stone in the ring your boyfriend is giving you makes you uncomfortable, your response — after an enthusiastic “yes!!!” — could be, “But, darling, this stone is so large we will have to hire an armed guard to accompany me if I wear it outside the house. Are you sure it’s wise for me to wear this every day? I would be very happy with something more modest, you know.” (It’s worth a try.)

Dear Abby: I have always been too kind and polite. I give money I shouldn’t, say yes to favors I don’t want to do and keep my mouth shut when I should speak up. My best friend once told me I shouldn’t say what she needed to hear, but what she wanted to hear.

I have been in therapy for two years now, and I’m learning to say no. I love that when I meet strangers, I can use the skills I’m learning and be more assertive.

My friends and family are having a hard time with it. I broke up with the bestie because our relationship was abusive. Other people seem shocked if I say no or voice my opinion. They then pressure me to change my mind, which makes me transform back into a mouse. How can I get them to understand — politely — that I am changing for the better, which includes putting myself, my needs and my decisions between yes and no first? — Looking Out For Number One

Dear Looking Out: You and your therapist have been doing good work. Of course people who hear you say no or state your opinion are having trouble with it. That’s not the person you were. You are becoming someone with whom they are not used to dealing. Keep that in mind when someone asks you to do something you would rather not do. You always have the right to refuse. As to differences of opinions say: “Intelligent minds can differ,” or, “I’m entitled to my opinion.” It’s the truth.

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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