Dear Readers: Your questions and dilemmas never take a holiday, but occasionally I must. This week's "best of" columns come from deep within the Ask Amy vault.
Dear Amy: Is it ever appropriate to ask people the cost of items in their homes? I don't think so, while my husband maintains that it is fine to ask this question of family and close friends.
The issue arose when my father-in-law asked the cost of an aerial photo of our home that I had recently given to my husband as a gift. Does it matter if the questioner is actually considering a similar purchase or is just curious?
Finally, if you choose not to answer, what is the gracious response?
— Brought up differently
Dear Brought Up: I'm with you; I don't think it's appropriate to ask the cost of an item. If your father-in-law was curious or considering a similar purchase, he could politely ask, "Was that really expensive? I'd love to have that done at our home." This leaves an opening for you to say, "Well, it wasn't too bad. Actually, here's the number of the guy we hired."
One gracious response to a question you don't want to answer was taught to me by a friend.
Just look the offender in the eye, pat him warmly on the arm and say, "Why, aren't you sweet to ask!" That's it. (August 2003)
Dear Amy: I'm a senior in high school and have a love-triangle problem. A friend with whom I am not very close has been dating the same boy for almost four years. The problem is that I have fallen in love with him.
I keep trying to tell myself to just wait until I leave high school and then find someone else, but I also know that he is very attracted to me as well. There is a very good chance we will be attending the same college. He is completely unaware of how I feel.
Should I keep trying to get over him or reveal my feelings to him and see what happens?
— Head over heels
Dear Head: First, catch some reruns of "Felicity." I think you've covered the back story to the first season in your letter.
It is very bad form for a young woman to attempt to move in on a guy who is otherwise involved in a long and committed relationship. Truth be told, 18-year-old girls have been known to ignore that rule, though I certainly hope you won't.
College is around the corner. I predict you'll have calculated the third angle to your love triangle before you figure out how to do your first load of laundry. But wait until then. (May 2004)