The 'fat one' doesn't get the big picture

DEAR ABBY: When we have family get-togethers several times a year, it seems like they make a point to leave me out of pictures. My mom and sister lost quite a bit of weight recently, and my brothers and cousin are attractive people. It seems like they're trying to keep the "fat one" out of the photo.

Recently, a cousin came into town and made copies of two excellent pictures of my mom and sister and posted them online. Again, I was not included. What should I do? I am depressive anyway, and these obvious oversights are upsetting me.

- Left Out in Tennessee

DEAR LEFT OUT: Talk with your mother and sister to confirm if what you suspect is happening is true. It's possible your mother and sister are so proud of their weight loss they want to show it off. As to the visiting cousin, there may be such a marked change in their appearance that he/she thought it was worth posting on the Internet.

A problem with depression is that quietly brooding solves nothing, and it often causes people to overeat. Please consider discussing it with your health-care provider.

DEAR ABBY: I have acquired two teenage stepsons. My challenge is their table manners. They were never taught any! They use their utensils like shop tools, lifting food using fork and knife together to transfer huge bites from plate to mouth. They slouch over the table to get their faces as near the plate as possible.

I'm worried that when they eventually go out into the world, they'll be perceived as having no class when they are actually nice young men. What to do?

- San Antonio Stepdad

DEAR STEPDAD: People do make negative judgments about people who have poor table manners - and it could be detrimental to them in the future. That's why you should discuss this with their mother, and enlist her help in talking to the boys in a nonconfrontational way. If it is to succeed, there must be cooperation from everyone.

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