Neat-freak’s girlfriend sweeps suggestions aside

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DEAR ABBY: Is nitpicking a poor trait to have? I see it as a positive thing as long as matters are brought up in a helpful way. If you want a healthy relationship with the person you live with, isn’t it best to tell her what you think should be done and how?

Two examples: My girlfriend likes to take her socks off when she’s lying on the couch. She rolls them off her feet with the opposite foot and they sometimes end up in the corner of the couch, but most of the time on the floor. Also, dishes never get rinsed off, washed or put away on time. The sock thing is gross, and the dishes end up stinking or the food gets stuck on them. Also, the dishes sit in the strainer, not the cupboard.

My girlfriend thinks I go overboard and bombard her with these suggestions. I’d like to know how you and your readers feel about nitpicking. — LIKES THINGS NEAT IN LOUISVILLE

DEAR LIKES THINGS NEAT: I find it interesting that you used the term “nitpicking.” Is that what your girlfriend calls it when you tell her she’s doing something that bothers you? Nitpicking encompasses more than asking someone to pick up her socks or not leave the dishes in the sink or on the counter. (If she washes them, shouldn’t YOU put them into the cupboard?)

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There are few things that a neatnik finds more upsetting than living with someone who is disorganized. You and your girlfriend appear to have some very basic differences. If you’re planning to make this romance a lifelong commitment, I’m warning both of you in advance that you can’t change another person. Got it?

DEAR ABBY: I’ve been doing my mother-in-law’s hair for the last seven years. I became very busy with clients and had her double-booked in between clients because she wasn’t a paying customer. She felt “shuffled around” and decided to text me, telling me she will go to another hairdresser.

I’m hurt and don’t understand why she wouldn’t communicate this to me directly so we could have worked something out. What’s the best way to handle this? — HAIRDRESSER IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR HAIRDRESSER: Talk with her directly. Tell her you received her text and the snub wasn’t intentional. One would think she’d realize you were doing her a favor by working her in, but if she can’t understand that, then perhaps it’s better she see another stylist. Accept it and move on.

DEAR ABBY: My daughter calls me (hands-free) when she is driving in her car. We have lively conversations and I enjoy her calls. However, she is always either running errands or on her way to work when she calls. I can be in the middle of a sentence when she announces, “Oops, Mom, I’ve reached my destination. Gotta go. Love you!”

Am I wrong to feel she is “fitting” me in? Or should I just be happy for the call? — A MOM IN CONNECTICUT

DEAR MOM: It may seem like your daughter is “fitting you in,” but at least she ends the conversations with an expression of love. If her schedule is busy, her drive time may be the optimum time for her to talk privately. So be happy — it’s better than never hearing from her at all.

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

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