The truth comes out via conveniently timed text

Published 8:20 am Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

DEAR ABBY: A few years ago, my sister and I took our kids on vacation together. She and I get along but have never been close. Sometimes I walk on eggshells around her because I never know what might make her upset. 

I thought we were having a good time on that vacation and getting along well, even though I was anxious. We were both taking pictures with our phones, and she handed me hers to forward myself some of the pictures. While I was looking at them, a text message pinged, and I checked it without thinking about it not being my phone. 

It turns out my sister had spent the entire vacation texting about my “B.S.,” my inability to do anything competently and even referenced something that happened years before. I had noticed her constant texting but said nothing because I didn’t want to risk an argument. 

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

I am still angry about this and don’t know how to let it go. I really don’t want to travel with her again, since I know the invisible third party will be with us the whole time. How do I deal with this? – STAYING PUT IN NEW JERSEY


DEAR STAYING PUT: When you saw that message from your sister’s text partner you should have handed her the phone and started packing. You are not obligated to travel with someone who causes you to walk on eggshells, ignores you, puts you down and says nasty things behind your back. Don’t be mean about taking steps to protect yourself. Simply stop vacationing with her. (I know I sure would!)


DEAR ABBY: My wife recently had her DNA tested so she could learn more about her genealogy. She then decided to make her results public so other possible relatives could contact her. Not long ago, she received an email from a man, “Stan,” claiming a DNA match. 

Stan said he was adopted, and his search to find his birth parents had hit a dead end. My wife immediately recalled old family stories about an older relative – who is still alive – who had given up her baby for adoption. Several pieces of information from Stan matched (like his birthplace), and we have no doubt my wife’s relative is this man’s parent. 

Our question: Do we help Stan contact his long-lost parent? As sad as it may be, I don’t think it’s our business to surprise my wife’s kin with news of a son they’ve never talked about. My wife is leaning in the opposite direction and sees no harm. What do we do? – TO HELP OR NOT TO HELP?


DEAR TO HELP: Your wife should contact the relative in question, explain about her DNA test and inform her that she has been contacted by a man claiming he is related. She should tell her relative she had long ago heard about a child that may have been placed for adoption. If your wife’s relative would like to have “Stan’s” contact information, she should share it. However, if this relative isn’t open to being contacted, your wife should let the matter rest.


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.)