DEAR ABBY: I’m in my mid-60s and still work full-time. I love my work, not only because it pays well, but also for the good times I have with co-workers and the intellectual stimulation I get from solving problems. I also feel younger than my age. That may be because I have a purpose in life – to get up early every morning, take my shower, put on my makeup and hurry to the office. At the end of the day, I feel fulfilled because I know I have done something worthwhile.

My problem is the tactless people who ask me when I’m going to retire. Sometimes I tell them that they will be the first to know if I decide to do so. Someone even told me that I should retire now “so I can begin to enjoy my life”! I told her I don’t have to retire to enjoy my life because I enjoy my life every day.

I don’t know what their motives are in asking. At times I become so annoyed that I just look at the person and give a sweet smile – just to shut him/her up. I don’t want to be rude, but now and then I feel like telling them that it’s none of their business. Abby, what is the best response to give these busybodies? – IRRITATED OUT WEST

Give the person your standard “sweet smile” and say: “To me, retirement is a dirty word. Please don’t use it in front of me again.”

DEAR ABBY: My daughter-in-law has been trying to get my son out of his tighty-whiteys for a few years now. He has gained a few pounds and they are just a little too tight. He isn’t overweight, but men’s underwear makers don’t make in- between sizes. She has bought him a larger size, but he refuses to wear them.

Do you have any ideas on how to get him out of – so to speak – his tighty-whiteys and into something more flattering? By the way, I am not a meddling mother-in-law, but my daughter-in-law was too embarrassed to write. – NOT A MEDDLER

One way to accomplish it might be for your daughter-in-law to occasionally mention how “hot” your son would look in something else. If that doesn’t work, she should just continue to feed him the way she has been – and when the tighty-whiteys cut off his circulation, he may decide to get out of them himself.

DEAR ABBY: I had what I thought was a good friend, “Meg.” We were part of a larger group that was very close. When my husband left me, Meg disappeared from my life.

I carried on with career, family and friends, and I am now remarried. My new husband is charming, affluent and well-known in our community. Now Meg has suddenly reappeared and behaves like her absence over the last four years never happened. I am sure she wants to be a part of our inner circle because of my husband’s success.

When I encounter her socially, I am always cordial. I have politely declined her overtures and invitations, but she doesn’t seem to get the hint. What can I say to nip this in the bud? I don’t want to be rude, nor do I want to keep making excuses. – TIRED OF HYPOCRISY

What’s wrong with telling your fair-weather friend the truth? You don’t have to be mean about it. Just say that when she disappeared from your life, you went on with yours, you understand that life can take people down different paths, and you wish her well on hers.

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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