DEAR ABBY: I have a good friend who owns a prosperous business. I’ll call him “Oscar.” Oscar has no clue that one of his employees, “Shirley,” is stealing big chunks of money from him.

I feel bad for the friend who is being taken, and also for the person doing the stealing. I know them both well, and if I were to tell him, Oscar would lose both a friend and an employee. Shirley has worked for him for more than a dozen years. Her son and her brother now work for him, too. If I blow the whistle, Shirley could lose her home and other investments.

This could get very ugly, and I don’t want to be in the middle. Please tell me what to do. – IN THE MIDDLE IN PHOEN

DEAR IN THE MIDDLE: You were put in the middle the minute you learned about the thefts. You must tell the employer what is going on. To do otherwise makes you an accessory to the crime.

It will then be up to Oscar to decide if he wants to press charges. And please remember that the friendship between Oscar and Shirley ended when she started stealing from him. Friends don’t steal from their friends. Opportunists do.

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I were invited to a dinner party at which the hostess seated my husband at the main table next to her. She seated me at a far table in the corner, with my back to the dinner guests.

Fortunately, I made easy conversation and had a nice time, but I don’t feel like accepting any of her invitations in the future. My husband scarcely noticed and wonders why I might not care to be invited again. May I know your thoughts on how to handle this? – DIANA IN SAN FRANCISCO

When a couple is invited to a dinner party, and the husband is seated next to the hostess, it is customary for his wife to be seated next to the host of the party. By seating you in “Siberia,” the hostess demonstrated not only a breach of etiquette, but also how little she cared about your feelings. Explain that to your husband, and perhaps he’ll get the message.

DEAR ABBY: Whenever an individual has a face lift, brow lift or eye lift, it is usually said that the person looks 10 – or whatever – years younger. I know the person will continue to age, but will she (or he) always look 10 years younger than she would have without surgery, or does the person eventually look just as she would have if she never had a lift?

I asked a cosmetic surgeon this question, but never got a clear answer. Could you help me (and others) have a more realistic idea of what to expect if we choose this route? – CONTEMPLATING SURGERY IN ARKANSAS

I’ll try. It is a misconception that plastic surgery guarantees knocking 10 years – or “whatever” – off one’s countenance. More often what happens is the person looks “rested” or “refreshed” – the sags and stress lines gone or diminished.

How long the results last can vary according to the patient’s genetics and how well he or she takes care of his or her skin. If the person avoids the sun, tobacco, too much alcohol and excessive weight gain, the results of plastic surgery will last longer. But nothing lasts forever – and that includes anything a person has “lifted.”

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

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