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Dear Abby: There could not be any help for this self-centered conversationalist

DEAR ABBY: My daughter is 40 years old and a lousy conversationalist. She wants to answer questions, but her conversation always turns to her and her narrow, specific interests. She never starts to talk about herself, and when she starts talking about herself, there's no stopping her. She seems to need to dominate every conversation.

She has always been this way, and I think it's because she's anxious. She was bullied as a child. When she was little, her dad and I talked about it, but he's very hands-off and did not want to address it. Because of that, her style never changed, and now think we made a mistake. Can you suggest a way I could help, even now, to become better at conversation? ̵


DEAR TALKER: You are well-meaning, but there is little you can do to turn your daughter into a better conversationalist. From your description, you may deeply insecure. However, until she realizes that her copying mechanism is driving away, her suggestions will be met with denial and ignored.

DEAR ABBY: Will you please ask your readers NOT to open doors for toddlers? In a store or a car, it has become a parent and has learned to walk. I guarantee you, my son is safe inside the store as an alone and unsupervised outside. While he may stand at the door, he does not know what is best for him, and I'm still inside the store. Abby, I can only say I am a student, although I am a student, I am not a 10 or 15 feet away. If they wanted to go outside, they would open the door for him. Thanks! – CONCERNED PARENT OF A TODDLER

DEAR PARENT: As requested, I'm printing your letter. However, when parents take small children shopping, they should be careful about keeping them close and in their line of sight. Another concern is, toddlers have become to destroy displays of cans, bottles and boxes, and get underfoot, which creates a hazard for other shoppers. It is not always a "helpful" shopper who allows the little ones to exit. Sometimes the doors swing open automatically.

DEAR ABBY: My husband of many years has had an offensive eating habit. When finishing his meal, he takes the plate or bowl, puts it to his mouth as one would a glass, and shovels the remains into his mouth. As he does he makes licking food from a bowl. I find it revolting, but how can I address it without offending it? – ANNOYED IN ALBUQUERQUE

DEAR ANNOYED: Offending HIM? Try this: Say it in PLAIN ENGLISH! Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by Pauline Phillips.

Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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