Dear Abby: I discovered that I have a talent for creating a unique type of art which is marketable.

Dear Abby: A year ago I discovered that I have a talent for creating a unique type of art which is marketable. At a holiday market in which I participated, a customer commissioned me to make two pieces for her. She also advised me on how I should market my art. I listened patiently but had no intention of following her advice.

When she came to my home to pick up the pieces, she brought three of her friends along and began advising me again. This time, she mentioned that when a person brings a group of purchasing customers (as these ladies were … they bought nearly everything I have), I should ALWAYS offer a little “gift” to the person bringing the customers (i.e. one of my pieces as a token of gratitude).

Abby, I consider what I do to be my business now. I’m not selling cosmetics or kitchenware for another company. I don’t think I have ever gone to any market with friends and asked the seller to give me a token for bringing friends who bought something. Is this what I should do? Please enlighten me.

Budding Artist Down South

Dear Artist: Someone who helps you to increase your business should be thanked for their effort — as long as it is you and not the other person who is deciding on what is appropriate. Whether this comes in the form of a verbal expression of gratitude or something tangible is up to you.

While on one hand I think it was nervy of the woman to spring this on you, on the other I can’t help thinking that business is business — and this is a way of promoting it. Consider offering the woman a future discount.

Dear Abby: My fiance and I were having dinner at a nice restaurant when a woman came up to him. It turned out she was a former girlfriend of his. When she looked at me questioningly, he introduced me as his “friend”! I REintroduced myself to her as his fiancee. She then looked back at him and said, “Oh. Congratulations,” and walked away. For the first time, I’m seriously considering not marrying this guy. What do you think?

More than a Friend in Texas

Dear More: What happened is a red flag. I think your fiance has a lot of explaining to do. Start the discussion with, “I am not your ‘friend,’ I am your fiancee!” I wouldn’t blame you for making this a loooong engagement. It seems you need to get to know him better.

Dear Abby: After I told my cousin I was gay about 20 years ago, he stopped speaking to me, so I wrote him off. My life has been happy because I have strong relationships and no jealousy. Well, my aunt died recently. I assume this cousin will be at the memorial service. I still resent how everything went all those years ago. Should I ask him if he has anything to say to me? Should I confront him or just leave well enough alone?

Still Peeved in Pennsylvania

Dear Still Peeved: I see nothing positive to be gained by confronting your cousin at the memorial. Bring a close friend or your partner with you if you need emotional support. You didn’t mention whether the rest of the family is as homophobic as this cousin, but at an emotional time like this, my advice is to let sleeping dogs lie.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.