Dear Abby: What's the best thing to do when someone insults me for being myself? My hair has been bright blue for the last two semesters of college. I'm young, and my family is letting me express my "wild" side while I'm in school.
Six months ago, I went to meet my ex-boyfriend's mother, and the first thing she said was, "You're one of my son's phases, right? Boys don't actually bring girls with blue hair home to Mama." Abby, it was with my ex's encouragement that I dyed my hair this bright color.
My family, my church and most of my teachers think it's OK. Is there a social stigma attached to exotically dyed hair? And what's the best way to react when someone insults me?
-- Nice Person in Walland, Tenn.
Dear Nice Person: Whether there's a stigma attached to looking different depends on who is doing the looking. Some people -- your ex-boyfriend's mother, for instance -- find it off-putting. Did you tell her that it was with her son's encouragement that you dyed your hair blue? It would have been interesting to see her reaction. It would also be interesting to know what shade his current girlfriend's hair is.
When others comment about the unusual color of your hair, instead of treating it as an insult, smile and say, "Don't judge a book by its cover." Then change the subject.
Sister shares too much
Dear Abby: My sister, "Beth," and I are very close, but a constant source of contention is her boyfriend, "Brody." Beth and Brody have broken up several times, and each time it happens, she tells me every horrible thing he's ever done.
They always seem to get back together, and then Beth expects me to like him despite everything I know. Does the fact that she forgives and forgets mean that I have to do the same?
-- Too Much Info in Ohio
Dear Too Much Info: No, it doesn't. But you should be civil, even if you're not warm and friendly. Then cross your fingers and hope your sister recognizes less drama is healthier and the relationship ends soon.