Dear Annie: I'm a teenager, and my friend told me he's having suicidal thoughts. His dad is really hard on him, and I suspect he's verbally abusive, as well.
He made me promise never to tell anyone and said he wouldn't actually go through with these thoughts. But I don't know what to do. Would it ruin him if I told someone? And who would I tell? I don't want to make his home life even worse, and he might deny it if I mention it. Please help me. -- Scared to Death
Dear Scared: One should always take threats of suicide seriously. Your friend confided in you because he needed to talk about it, and you can encourage him to discuss his feelings. Your compassion and support may help him resolve some issues and realize that whatever situation he is in doesn't have to be permanent.
But if you believe he is showing signs of following through (getting prepared, giving things away), please talk to your parents, school counselor, a sympathetic teacher, your minister or any responsible adult, and urge your friend to seek professional help through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.
Dear Annie: I am a grandmother in my 60s. I was excited to learn about Facebook and start conversing with friends and relatives. I love seeing all of their pictures and videos and reading their statuses and comments. I always make comments and give compliments on their pictures, etc.
But is it wrong for me to be hurt and resentful when some of them completely ignore me in return? It is mainly the relatives who do this. These are the same people to whom I have sent checks in hard times and for every occasion, and it bothers me when I see that they comment to other friends, but act like I don't exist.
I hate to say anything to them, because they would resent me for it, but it hurts my feelings, and I don't understand their behavior. They act as if it would cost them long-distance money to respond to me.
I believe you can find out a lot about people by friending them on Facebook. You discover which ones are really interested in you and which ones simply like to post pictures of themselves. It is so self-centered. What should I do? -- Hurt in Virginia
Dear Hurt: Please don't mistake Facebook for genuine friendship and a true relationship. It is simply a convenient way to keep track of others' activities and life events and let them know about yours. Some people are considerate and responsive (like you), and others, less so. Your relatives, in particular, may think that their relationship with you is covered outside of Facebook and therefore doesn't require the same degree of attentiveness online. It's OK to ask when you see them in person, but we urge you not to take this too seriously. We don't believe it is anyone's intent to hurt your feelings.
Dear Annie: This is about the letter from "A Long-Term Care Employee," who urges family members to bring new clothing to residents in nursing homes.
In the past five years, my husband has been in three different nursing homes for rehab after a stroke and numerous falls. You learn not to bring "good" clothes because they disappear. Even with every article identified with a name tag, a hamper to put dirty clothes in and instructions that "family will do laundry," the clothes go missing.
I visited my husband daily. Finding his missing clothes was an ongoing problem in each nursing home. I visited the lost and found department in one facility, and the amount of clothing there could have outfitted every one of the 102 residents. Please don't blame the family. We try. -- Royal Oak, Mich.
This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2012. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.