DEAR ABBY: My friends and family constantly ask me when I plan to get a new phone. I have a slide phone. I used to have a flip phone, which also drew the same questions. I am not a phone person. I have a land line at home with answering/messaging in place.

I am sick of the questions about my phone. I don’t want a smartphone. I have my little phone for emergencies, not so everyone I know can reach me immediately. I wouldn’t dream of asking people when they are going to get a better TV, newer shoes, a more expensive car, a bigger house, a more expensive handbag. Why is it that people feel the need to shame me about my phone?

It is to the point now that I may turn it off and turn it on only when I want to use it. It is becoming difficult for me to remain civil about this subject. I envision myself throwing it in the trash can next time someone asks.


DEAR LIKE THE OLD DAYS: Some people view having the latest model of cellphone as a status symbol, which is why so many feel compelled to buy one as soon as a new one is released. However, while that dreaded question may be posed in terms of when you plan to buy a new phone, I suspect what the askers really mean is, “When are you going to make it easier for us to communicate with you?”

If you shut your phone off and use it only when you wish to use it, you won’t be alone in the practice. While it may frustrate those who want immediate gratification, it will allow you to manage your time without unwelcome interruptions.

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DEAR ABBY: Last night my wife and I, both retired M.D.s, met our daughter “Jackie,” her wife, “Kelly,” and Jackie’s daughter for dinner at a restaurant to celebrate Jackie’s 50th birthday. Kelly had called a couple of weeks ago to invite us.

My wife and I pay the check when we meet Jackie and her family to eat, which is usually brunch on Sunday, but because Kelly invited us, we were unsure whether we should last night. (Our son gets upset if we offer to pay in similar circumstances.) My wife asked Kelly at the table if we could pay for our dinners. We had already presented Jackie with a birthday card with a check for $1,000 enclosed.

Jackie texted us today, incensed that we did not pick up the check. Should we have? Jackie is a Ph.D. and makes a comfortable living. Her wife is an Ivy League graduate.


DEAR BAFFLED: Your daughter’s manners are appalling. Her wife invited you and your wife to the dinner, which made you HER guests. It was sweet (and generous) of your wife to ask if the two of you could pay for your meals — in addition to the very generous gift you had given your daughter. If apologies are in order, the people who should receive them are you and your wife.

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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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