OPINION: Dear Abby

Friendship with doctor’s wife puts patient in awkward spot

DEAR ABBY: For several years, I have gone to a medical specialist I'll call "Eric" for certain issues. Eric's wife, "Nina," and I were very close friends. Our families celebrated holidays and special occasions together. However, over the course of our friendship, Nina shared many details about their personal lives with me. They are now separated.

My knowledge of these details makes me feel very uncomfortable about seeing Eric. I would like to see another doctor in the practice, since all of my records are there. I'm not sure how to ask for another doctor without giving some reason, and I do not want to cast aspersions on Eric professionally. Your advice, please?

-- Time for a Change

DEAR TIME: Depending upon the size of the practice, you may not be questioned about why you want to make the change. However, if Eric confronts you, all you have to say is that you prefer to see someone else from now on. Period. If you are questioned further, take your business -- and your records, which belong to you -- to another specialist in a different practice.

DEAR ABBY: Last year, two former classmates bought houses next door to me. I don't mind one of them, but the other, "Evie," is a snippy know-it-all with a sugar daddy boyfriend. She looks down on everyone. In addition to yelling over the fence when they see us outside or on our back deck, they have invited my husband and me to dinner at their house and for happy hour several times. I have made excuses, but I'm running out of them. I have no intention of accepting these invitations. My husband thinks we should "just get it over with" and go, but I'm afraid accepting will just open doors for more. Help!

-- No, Thank You,

in Washington

DEAR NO, THANK YOU: Your husband may mean well, but I agree with you. Do not accept. Continue telling Evie and her boyfriend that you have "other plans" and pray they eventually get the hint.

DEAR ABBY: I'm a divorced man. I'm semi-retired, work four days a week on second shift and have an easy job. I draw Social Security and live comfortably. I love riding my four-wheeler, and go on mountain trips with it. My problem is, people are always telling me I should work more than I do. I paid my dues throughout my life, and it irks me because it feels to me like people can't stand that I have it made and they don't. It takes a lot to hold my tongue. If you please, give me a snappy comeback for these folks.

-- Sick of Hearing It

DEAR SICK: Resist the urge to flaunt the fact that you have it made and they don't. The snappiest comeback would be to smile and ask, "Why?" If someone is worried about your welfare, assure them you are comfortable with your life the way it is. If their motivation is what you suspect, they may be stumped for an answer to your simple question.

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 DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.