Dear Annie: For the past 18 months, I’ve been dating a woman who resides two states south. We are planning on her moving north to live with me. My problem is her thick southern accent.
”Beth” habitually holds the last word of a sentence and draws it out. Her voice slides up and down when saying a simple word such as “town” so that it has multiple syllables. A couple of my friends have also noticed how pronounced her drawl is.
I have hinted to Beth about it on occasion, but it hasn’t made a difference. I have to admit, this speech pattern is both repulsive and abrasive to me. Beth has many loving qualities, but I worry about the drawl. I can barely tolerate it now, and I fear it will eventually drive me crazy.
Should I confront Beth about it? I don’t want to hurt her feelings. — Need Your Input
Dear Need: There are other factors to consider. If Beth moves north, her speech will adapt to her surroundings, and over time, she would likely lose a lot of her accent. You also could speak gently and lovingly about this. Don’t say her drawl gets on your nerves, even if it’s true. Say that if she is going to be living in your neck of the woods, she might want to shorten her words so she fits in better.
Of course, she may become protective of her accent, believing it is linked to her identity, and be resistant to change. If she has other qualities that you appreciate, we advise first speaking to her to see whether she is receptive and then being patient.
Dear Annie: I recently hosted a bridal shower for a dear friend. Of the 30 women we invited, only five bothered to RSVP. Several people told the bride-to-be that they may not be coming. Not surprisingly, the bride assumed (incorrectly) that they had also RSVP’d to me directly, so she didn’t pass that on.
You can imagine how frustrating, not to mention wasteful, it was to prepare enough food for 25 people when only a handful arrived. My point is this: When asked to RSVP to an event, do so. Don’t ignore it or ask the bride to pass on your regrets. She has enough details on her plate right now. It takes just a minute to respond to an invitation, and it is just plain rude not to. — Too Many Leftovers
Dear Leftovers: We agree, but this problem has been around so long, we suspect your words of warning will go unheeded. So this is for the hosts: If someone has not RSVP’d to an invitation by the date requested, please phone them and find out whether they plan to come. (We hope invitees will be embarrassed enough that it will inspire them to behave better next time.)
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “We Are There and It Hurts,” the parents of an adult daughter who is grossly overweight. It’s possible she has binge eating disorder. If so, dieting may not help. She needs therapy with someone trained in the treatment of eating disorders.
Please tell this couple to go to the National Eating Disorders Association website (nationaleatingdisorders.org) or call the NEDA Helpline at 800-931-2237. It may be the best thing they could ever do for their daughter. — Been There
Dear Been: Thank you. Binge eating is a psychiatric disorder characterized by loss of control of the amount of eating, distress over binge episodes, and episodes that occur at least three times a week for three months or longer. It usually involves eating more rapidly than normal, eating until uncomfortably full and/or when not hungry, eating alone due to embarrassment, and feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed or guilty after. Other resources are the Binge Eating Disorder Association (bedaonline.com) and the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders at anad.org.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.