Originally Published: September 7, 2018 8:12 p.m.
Dear Annie: I have a dear friend who lives nearby, but for some reason, he will not contact me. We grew up together, and a year ago, I helped him, his wife and his dogs out after Hurricane Irma knocked out electricity at their home.
He has never really thanked me, and he never calls me. And I refuse to call him.
What could be the problem? He may not be the good friend I thought he was. Why is he like that? — Puzzled in South Florida
Dear Puzzled: Though it would be an interesting superpower if we could read minds, we never truly know what is going on inside someone else’s head. We can only communicate with someone and ask. Your refusal to call your friend or reach out is the missing piece to your puzzle. If you call him and he blows you off, then your suspicions will be confirmed and you can write him off as a friend. If you call him and invite him over for a friendly get-together and he accepts and the two of you have a great time, then you know that he is in fact a friend.
Dear Annie: This is in response to the letter from “Handshake Hater,” the woman who said she’s disgusted whenever men try to shake hands with her. Needless to say, her letter was appalling. Why doesn’t she wear sterile gloves or nice cloth ones if she’s so afraid of germs? Even the queen is courteous enough to shake hands with anyone. — Pastor Ron
Dear Pastor Ron: You’re not the only person who wrote in suggesting gloves for “Handshake Hater.” There’s certainly no harm in being more like the queen.
Dear Annie: I finally read a letter I felt I had to respond to. How sad that “Handshake Hater” is such a snob about men offering to shake hands with a “lady” that she would never do business with them.
My great-aunt was the definition of a lady, having been raised in the early 1900s and lived a number of years in her state’s governor’s mansion, entertaining dignitaries and guests. Aunt Marj told me that a sign of an honest person is one who has a firm handshake, not a wimpy (her words) one. To not offer a handshake is a sign of no confidence or disrespect. It is up to the receiver as to whether to accept the handshake. Saying something such as “no, thanks, I don’t shake hands” or even a white lie such as “I’m sorry, but I don’t shake hands because I have arthritis” would be more acceptable than retaliation.
I have shaken many a dirty or sweaty hand and never indicated that I didn’t like the person. Yes, I am a female who was raised a lady, but I’m not a snob. It must be lonely on top of that pedestal of righteousness and ignorance. -- A Firm Handshake for All
Dear Firm Handshake: Hear! Hear! Here’s to your aunt Marj.
“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to email@example.com.