Ask Amy Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

DEAR READERS: I've stepped away from my column for a few days. Please enjoy these "Best Of" columns in my absence.

DEAR AMY: I am 75 years old -- active, attractive and feel like I'm 25. I'm enrolled at a community college taking courses in ceramics. One of my fellow students has suddenly taken an interest in me. He is a nice guy and we share many interests. The problem is, I am not at all attracted to him. He has indicated he would like to become involved. I don't want to hurt his feelings, but I do want him to know that we can never be more than friends. How do I do this diplomatically?

Alive and Kickin'

DEAR KICKIN': First of all, way to be 75! It looks like the pressure of being attractive to others doesn't diminish with age. That's your mixed blessing.

I hope you really search your feelings to make sure you're not attracted to this man. If you're sure you're not in any way interested, you just have to do the same thing you did when you were 17. And do it nicely.

The best way not to offend is to not be offensive. Find a version of, "I really like you, but not in that way," that works for you. After you deliver this news, you might want to invite him to do something innocuous with you, to prove that you want to spend time with him and be friends. (June, 2004)

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DEAR AMY: I am a 42-year-old woman who has found a wonderful man, and we are planning on getting married sometime this year. I have never been married, and he has been married once. My question regards old pictures, cards and memorabilia from past relationships. Obviously we both have a history with others, but what is the proper etiquette regarding these things? I have taken some fabulous trips with old boyfriends, and he with girlfriends. These relationships have helped us become what we are today. Do I dispose of old cards, letters and trinkets? This has not come up between us, but I would like to know how to handle it if it does.


DEAR ANNE: I'm not aware of any etiquette rule dictating the disposal of these things. I think this has the makings for a great conversation between the two of you, however.

I love your attitude that these people and places have made you who you are. I come down on the side of perhaps paring the collection but otherwise saving some of these things -- squirreled away somewhere -- partly because looking at these artifacts once in a blue moon reminds you of the long and interesting life journey you're on.

In my family, we have an album full of old prom pictures and beach vacation photos -- featuring former dates and former spouses. I'm glad these things are kicking around, even if some of the participants aren't. The kids in the family seem to get a particular kick out of the hip-huggers and hairstyles -- though I always think we were way stylin'. (March, 2005)

DEAR AMY: I am a 16-year-old girl and have been dating "David" for a few months. At the beginning of the school year (in my new school), I told some pretty tall tales -- you know, to fit in. Now I realize it was pretty stupid. Now David believes these stories about me. The lies have grown pretty big. And if I told him the truth, he would most likely never talk to me again. I don't want to risk losing him. What should I do?

Untruthful to My Love

DEAR UNTRUTHFUL: I'm sorry to be the one to break it to you, but you have to come clean. Let me provide my reasoning in an easy-to-follow SAT format: Q: Why does "Untruthful" need to be honest? (A) Because David deserves to know the "real" her.

(B) It feels good to be honest, even if it's hard at first.

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(C) All of the above. (March, 2004)