DEAR ABBY: My dad and I have been arguing over whether I should play soccer. I don't want to because I don't like the coach, the sport or having Dad yell at me for every little mistake I make. He says I'm good at the game and that I love it -- but I don't. How do I explain it's just not for me without disappointing him? I feel terrible because I have let him down. -- RATHER BE A CHEERLEADER
DEAR RATHER: Please don't feel that by not participating in soccer you're letting your father down. Frankly, he has let you down. When a parent becomes so emotionally involved with a child's sport activity that he yells, confuses his role as an enthusiastic and supportive parent with that of the coach, and takes the joy out of the sport for the kid, this is more often than not the result. If you enjoy cheerleading, go for it and don't feel guilty. If you have the vitality and athletic ability, you'll be a star.
DEAR ABBY: I dated "Albert" -- a wonderful, caring man -- for nine months until last week when I ended it because of a false promise. When we first started dating, he offered to fly me wherever he was due to be working. His job requires a lot of travel. It never happened.
Every year around this time he's back home in California to work the harvest at his ranch. We made plans for me to fly there to see him and meet the rest of his family.
A month ago I asked what was going on with the purchase of my plane ticket. I never got an answer, so I asked again two weeks later. Albert made some excuses and said it wasn't a good idea for him to pay for my flight there. After our break-up, he admitted his brother had convinced him it wasn't right for me to fly there at Albert's expense and, if I loved him I'd find a way to pay for it myself.
I'm a single mom. Albert knows my financial status. By no means could I afford a trip at my expense. I feel Albert's family will always influence his decisions and this would affect our relationship. Was this a good reason to break up? -- STAYING PUT IN TEXAS
DEAR STAYING PUT: Please don't be so quick to blame Albert's family. He may have been "wonderful and caring," but he wasn't much of a man for not telling you that he had had a change of heart about introducing you to his family, because that's what really happened. As you said, he knows your financial status. And yes, this was a good reason to break it off because, from my point of view, you had no other choice.
DEAR ABBY: Just a quick question regarding airline flying etiquette. What would be the proper way to handle a situation where the flight attendant comes around to serve refreshments and the person next to you is napping? Would it be appropriate to give him a little nudge when the attendant gets to your row, or just order your own and let the person be skipped over? -- UP IN THE AIR IN MASSACHUSETTS
DEAR UP IN THE AIR: Sometimes it's better to let sleeping dogs lie, and this is one of them.
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