Updated: November 23, 2013 8:19PM
Dear Abby: I’m a senior in high school. Every day during lunch, one of my friends goes outside and smokes weed with a couple of his friends. He comes back from lunch with red eyes, smelling of smoke and his behavior indicates that he’s high. I’m not sure if they smoke on or off campus, but I know it isn’t legal at their age (17), and especially not at school. I saw a joint in his pocket a couple of times and he told me to keep it a secret.
Abby, this has me very uncomfortable. If he wants me to keep it a secret, he must know it’s wrong. I don’t know how to tell someone or even who I should tell. I know he has depression and weed can “take the edge off,” but that doesn’t make it OK.
What should I do? Should I tell anyone? And if so, who and how? — FRETTING IN WASHINGTON STATE
DEAR FRETTING: It’s surprising to me that your friend returns from lunch showing all of the signs of being stoned, and none of his teachers has picked up on it. Haven’t his grades suffered?
While it is not uncommon for people who are depressed to try to self-medicate with illegal substances, it’s not nearly as successful as dealing with their emotions by talking about them with a medical professional, and can sometimes make the problem worse. The person to confide this in would be a trusted teacher or school counselor. Please don’t wait.
Dear Abby: While volunteering last year with a moms’ group, I met a woman I’ll call “Beverly.” We worked on a project together and that was the last I saw of her.
I heard she recently lost her daughter in a terrible accident. Our group rallied around her to provide meals for her family. At that time I asked the volunteer chairwoman about taking a meal to Beverly. The chairwoman didn’t respond until a couple of weeks later. Now I’m wondering if I should still take a meal over there.
How long should a family who has suffered a loss receive meals? I want to be a comfort, but I don’t know them that well. — UNSURE IN GEORGIA
DEAR UNSURE: When a death happens, people often rush to console the grieving family. More help is offered than can be accepted in the weeks that follow, and then people drift away.
It is not too late to offer Beverly and her family a home-cooked meal. Call her, make the offer and I’m sure it will be gratefully accepted.
Dear Abby: Every year we go to my brother’s home for Thanksgiving. His wife, “Kelly,” is a vegetarian. She will not eat meat and forces all of her guests to follow her strict diet, so every year we are forced to eat tofu turkey.
I brought up the idea of possibly having both a tofu turkey and a regular turkey, but that made my sister-in-law extremely angry. She called me an animal hater and told me I would rot in hell for all of eternity if I continued to sin by eating meat.
I love my brother very much and would hate to compromise our relationship, but every year this causes a fuss at Thanksgiving, and I’d like to avoid it this year. Any advice would be much appreciated. — TOFU-ED OUT IN WISCONSIN
DEAR TOFU-ED OUT: No law says you must dine at your brother’s home every year. Either alternate hosting the Thanksgiving dinner (when it’s at your house, Kelly can bring tofu turkey for herself — if she decides to attend) or make other plans for a traditional dinner elsewhere. You are not going to change your sister-in-law, and this would be the logical way to avoid an argument.