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Posted on Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 5 a.m.

Friend who threatens suicide has tragic example in her past

By Dear Abby

I have a dear friend, "Angie," who lost her father to suicide several years ago. Whenever life throws her a curveball, she talks about "ending it all." This bothers me tremendously because I went through the heartache and distress with her when her father took his life.

Angie has a loving family -- mother, sister, beautiful children and a boyfriend. I, on the other hand, am completely alone, yet I muddle along without threatening suicide at every bump in life.

How can I get my friend to stop and realize how lucky she is to have such a wonderful support system when there are those of us who have no one -- yet we find the strength to carry on? -- NOT GIVING UP IN LAS VEGAS

You can't, although I'm sure you have tried. You have inner resources that it appears Angie does not. However, if a friend of mine whose relative had committed suicide told me repeatedly that she was considering doing the same, I would report it to her family and urge them to see that she got professional help. That's what you should do, in case depression and suicidal impulses run in her family, as is sometimes the case.

I appreciate frugality, especially now that we all have to watch our spending. However, my neighbor is incredibly frugal. She often asks if she can "borrow" something instead of buying whatever it is she needs.

Her latest request was for socks -- yes, socks! -- for her daughter's dance recital. I put socks in the same category as underwear, something a little too personal to be lending out. Before that, it was leggings, a CD -- the list goes on and on. She always returns the items, but enough is enough!

I work, she doesn't. I feel as though I'm expected to provide for them because I have a job. I don't know if I should say anything to her about her constant borrowing or simply say "no" to all future requests, which, of course, there will be. Please share your thoughts. -- WHAT NEXT?

If your neighbor isn't working because she chooses not to, then say no. If she's not working because she hasn't been able to find a job -- a circumstance in which millions of people in this country find themselves -- then treat her as you would want to be treated if you were in her shoes.

My father, who is happily married to his third wife, recently came across some photos of his first wedding to my mother in 1961. Apparently, the walk down memory lane didn't stop there for him. He asked his wife, who evidently agreed, if he could have a party to celebrate the 50th anniversary of this event.

I am appalled and kind of nauseated by the thought. Do you think I'm overreacting? I have considered refusing the invitation. Should I just suck it up, or tell my father I think the idea is narcissistic, insensitive and foolish? -- SICK TO MY STOMACH

Your question is a first. Why your father would consider throwing a golden anniversary party to celebrate a marriage that turned to lead and "sank" is mystifying. Equally so is his current wife's willingness to go along with it.

While you and I might consider his idea to be ill-conceived, resist the urge to indulge in name-calling. Let him hear from others that the idea is narcissistic, insensitive and foolish. And, by the way, you are not obligated to accept every invitation you receive.

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.

Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: "Abby's Favorite Recipes" and "More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby." Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $12 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in price.)