DEAR ABBY: About a year ago, a good friend, “Beth,” went through a violent tragedy that destroyed her family. My husband and I own a small waterfront property, so during the months following, I took Beth away for the weekend to hopefully allow her some healing and emotional recovery. She then asked me to go again and, when I couldn’t go, asked if she could go with her friend (whom I had met but don’t know well). She asked again to go with her new boyfriend.

I agreed to both of these trips, even though this is our private vacation home. We never rent it. No one has ever used it without us, not even family. Now she’s asking again to use our place with her friend.

I feel like a heel to refuse if we’re not using the place, but I’m starting to feel a little used. Is it OK for me to tell her no because I am uncomfortable with her repeated requests, or am I just a bad friend? — TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF?

DEAR T.A.O.: You have been generous to Beth. Unless you have explained it to her, she may not realize what a special favor you did her by letting her use your waterfront house. From what you have written, your friend appears to be getting on with her life, so if you decline now it shouldn’t shatter her. To do so is NOT being a “bad friend.”

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DEAR ABBY: Please settle this between my sister and me. My sister carries about 25 credit cards in her purse. Recently she replaced the cardholder she keeps in her purse. I use an RFID wallet and purse, and I explained to her why I chose them. These products protect my identity from scammers. She says I’m being obsessive and worry too much. In today’s world, you can’t be too cautious. Abby, what are your thoughts on this? — PROTECTING MY IDENTITY


DEAR PROTECTING: I agree you can never be too security conscious. Why your sister would carry 25 credit cards with her at once is surprising, and I’m not sure it’s wise. If something should happen to her purse — Radio Frequency ID-blocking wallet or not — she would be up a creek. I hope she keeps copies of her cards and numbers in a separate, secure location in case she needs to cancel them.

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DEAR ABBY: A woman I know has ALS, and I want to help. I write medical articles, so reading and explaining new research is a useful skill I have. She has told only a small number of friends that she has the condition, and I learned about it by accident.

It seems silly to me to keep pretending I don’t know when everyone else around her does. When I showed her a summary of a research article on ALS, she said she didn’t know why I was showing it to her. As long as I know anyway, I wish I could be let in on the secret so I can be helpful. Any ideas? — HELPER IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR HELPER: Yes. You may be well intentioned, but you need to back off. When you put your foot in the door, it was shut firmly in your face. Now it’s time to respect her privacy.

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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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