Why's he keep talking to and staring at me?

He keeps staring at me while my husband is completely ignored. (iStock)

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I go out to dinner once a month with a couple we have known for years. "Joe" is an active conversationalist, while my husband is fairly quiet.

The problem is, Joe addresses only me and stares at me throughout the meal. I think it's just a bad habit he has acquired. To no avail I have tried various seating arrangements to avoid the constant stare. It makes me very uncomfortable. I feel bad for my husband, who is totally ignored, but doesn't seem to care as long as the food is good!

How do I get Joe to include my husband in the conversation and rest his gaze elsewhere? I really want to continue the friendship and the socializing, but I'd like to feel more relaxed at the dinner table.

- Distressed Diner

DEAR DISTRESSED: You are not helpless. The next time Joe directs his comments and questions only to you, toss the verbal ball to your husband and say, "Honey, what do you think about that?" It will give him an opening to enter the conversation.

As for the staring, Joe may not be aware of what he's doing. You could bring it to his attention by simply saying: "You keep looking at me, Joe. Do I have food in my teeth? Is my lipstick smeared?" Then haul out a compact and make a show of checking for yourself.


DEAR ABBY: I'm single and have grown children. I want to make sure I am not a burden to them even after death. I have a will and no bills beyond my house and normal living expenses. What do I need to do to make sure everything is taken care of when I'm gone?

- Preparing in Advance

DEAR PREPARING: Do you have an advance directive for health care in case you become so ill before your death that you can't speak for yourself? Do you have at least one health-care advocate who will ensure that your wishes are carried out? Do you have a cemetery plot selected and paid for? How about money set aside for your funeral or memorial?

If the answer to each of these questions is yes, just make certain your children are aware of it.