Man considers reaching out to dangerous former friend

Published 9:03 am Monday, August 31, 2020

DEAR ABBY: I cut off contact with a friend I’ll call “Mick” after my wife and I had our first child. He was a gambling addict, an alcoholic and a serial abuser of women. He was violent when he drank and once broke my nose because of some perceived slight.
Mick had a troubled childhood and then served in the Army in Afghanistan and Iraq. By the time he returned home, his mental health was extremely compromised, and I believe this is what led to most, if not all, of his issues and shortcomings.
I have always believed that, at heart, Mick is a good person. As someone who suffers from mental illness myself, I feel I can understand his issues on some level. I would like to reconnect with him, but I need to protect myself and my family, both emotionally and physically. How might I approach rekindling a relationship with Mick in a safe and reasonable way? — MISSING A FRIEND
DEAR MISSING: Drop that idea. You are not a therapist, and you can’t “fix” what’s wrong with Mick. The man is a violent abuser, and you have no proof that he has sought counseling for his issues. Offering the hand of friendship to someone who broke your nose because he had been drinking could be dangerous for you and your family. Your first responsibility is THEIR safety.
DEAR ABBY: My friend and I befriended the most adorable older couple. They invite us over and they love lunching together. They are terrific company, and we always enjoy our time with them.
During our last visit, they were cooking lunch, and it was apparent that they don’t wash their hands when preparing food. Because of the coronavirus, we aren’t comfortable eating at their house anymore. We would be happy to bring something over, but they are set in their ways and like to prepare their own food. We tried saying we can’t stay for lunch, but once we are with them, they start putting out the food. What advice can you give us? — STAYING SAFE IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR STAYING SAFE: Go online and check to see whether you can pick up the coronavirus from food. One would think that if the food is hot, the virus wouldn’t survive the cooking process. Have you considered inviting them to your place instead?
If you think this charming couple’s food puts you at risk of catching something unpleasant — like salmonella — the next time you are invited, lower your risk by bringing food for all of you. If they argue, tell them you are reciprocating their hospitality, which may have been one-sided if you have eaten there often. However, if they question you further, tell them the truth. While it may cool the relationship, it will increase your chances of staying healthy.
DEAR ABBY: My brother passed away recently. I bought a small life insurance policy 24 years ago to provide for his final expenses and to help his widow at the time of death. After paying for expenses, I plan to leave what’s left to his widow. My husband is nudging me to deduct the premium I paid for the policy, but I don’t feel comfortable about it. I’m not sure what I should do. Any suggestions? — WONDERING IN THE MIDWEST
DEAR WONDERING: This was YOUR brother and this is your sister-in-law. Tune your “helpful” husband out and follow your conscience.
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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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