DEAR ABBY: I’m a young man in my mid-20s, and I have a deeper voice than my stature would typically suggest. Close friends even get thrown off when I talk to them if they haven’t seen me in a while. I’m fairly happy with it, and people often ask if I do radio or voice acting. I run into problems, though, when strangers comment on it.

If someone says, ”Wow, has anyone ever told you that you have a great voice?” or something of that nature, my first impulse is to make a joke about it. If I’m not quick enough on my feet, however, I often catch myself saying something like, ”Yeah, I get that a lot,” or, ”I know,” both of which sound egotistical, and I feel embarrassed afterward. Is there a way to acknowledge the compliment that doesn’t come off so pretentious? — NOT QUICK ON MY FEET

DEAR NOT QUICK: Yes, accept the compliment graciously by saying, ”Thank you.”

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DEAR ABBY: My husband has been sick and unable to work for several years due to a debilitating illness. He has been home taking care of the kids while I have been working full time. We have lost everything because of the financial burden of his illness. I am very grateful to my parents for helping us financially during this tough time.

Unfortunately, I believe some of my family think my husband is faking his illness. This is hurtful since they have known him for a long time (we’ve been married 12 years). My sister recently asked him in a rather nasty way why he doesn’t just go get a job, and I’m beginning to think that my parents share her sentiment.


He already feels guilty and worthless for not being able to provide for our family. It’s coming to the point where I just want to get away from them and cut off contact. Should I address the issue or just let it go? — SICK IN THE SOUTH

DEAR SICK: By all means address the issue. What your sister did was both cruel and out of line. Ask your parents if those are their sentiments as well, because you are concerned they might be.

If they are having doubts about your husband’s physical problems, offer to share medical information that proves his health problems are all too real. Because your parents have been helping out financially, it might help to clear the air.

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DEAR ABBY: My son just got some devastating news. He found out that the son he has raised for 20 years isn’t his. We will always love the young man regardless. The thing is, how do we help our son to overcome losing a child we all thought was his? — HEARTBROKEN IN TEXAS

DEAR HEARTBROKEN: Regardless of who contributed the sperm that fertilized the egg that became your grandson, the person your son raised IS his son. The bond is there. Your son is the only father he has ever known. If you move forward from there and don’t deviate from that path, you should all be able to deal with this in a positive manner.

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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.

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