Who is Miss Abigail?

Abigail Grotke
Silver Spring, MD
email: missabigail at missabigail dot com
twitter: @DearMissAbigail

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Miss Abigail has a collection of over 1,000 classic advice books, spanning from 1822 to 1978 and covering a variety of topics, from love and romance to etiquette and charm. The collection sparked the idea for this site, then a book, Miss Abigail's Guide to Dating, Mating, and Marriage, which has inspired an Off-Broadway production of the same name!


Posts Tagged ‘jealousy’

Feuding Friends

Monday, August 30th, 2010

those you meet on a journeyQ Dear Miss Abigail:

My friend and I are fighting. I want us to continue being friends, but we’re both stubborn. What should I do?


A Dear Vanessa:

You don’t mention why you are fighting, but I have a feeling it might be related to some common issues that all friends seem to fight about ~ like what’s the best breakfast cereal, or what is saner ~ getting up early or sleeping late. Oh, no, that’s not it. Hmmm… maybe it is related to some of the issues mentioned in the following passage from the 1936 home ecomomics textbook titled Everyday Living for Girls.

1936: How May One Keep Friends?

The same qualities which help one make friends also aid in keeping them. Oversensitiveness, shyness, jealousy, gossiping, being too critical, and wanting one’s way are faults to avoid.

Jealousy destroys friendship. Jealousy sometimes breaks up friendships. Almost everyone is capable of jealousy. Do you think you could get hold of yourself, be so honest that you could look ‘the green-eyed monster’ in the face, recognize it for what it is, and tell it to leave? Sadly enough, it is not unusual for girls to be jealous of and ‘catty’ to other girls. Be generous. Be big enough to enjoy the good fortune of others ~ their clothes, good looks, social engagements, parties, school honors and other achievements. Incidentally, if you are worth-while and deserving, popularity and success will not turn your head. You will find time to remember and see old friends.

Do not gossip or pry into others’ affairs. A second way to destroy friendship is to be too inquisitive. Interest in others is natural and welcome if there is respect for the right of privacy. There is one type of girl who takes a proprietary attitude with her friends. She keeps track of everything they do and asks them direct questions about every detail of their lives. She may love them, but has a poor way of showing it ~ one which anybody may resent.

A direct personal question is in very poor taste. Only an ill-bred person asks personal questions.

Gossip is closely akin to prying into others’ affairs. Gossip, whether friendly or malicious, by intention or by accident, is a vice. It is a habit which grows. The tendency to gossip is a thing to curb in oneself and check in others. . . .

The passing of an old friendship.What would you do if you found that a friendship did not mean as much to you as it once had? Should you let old friends go? Would you cling to the friendship because of loyalty? Would this be false friendship if you’re heart were gone from it?

In the book Jeremy at Crale, Hugh Walpole has answered these questions. Jeremy’s best friend has been Jumbo. But the time has come when he finds he cannot talk to him any more. Jeremy has changed; Jumbo has not. Jeremy feels disloyal and self-critical. He has a very understanding uncle to whom he goes for advice. Uncle Samuel says that he can do nothing, and continues, ‘Friendship’s like that. You aren’t friends with someone because you want to be. You can’t have a friend unless you can feed one another. Once or twice in your life you’ll meet someone and you’ll go on with them for the rest of your days. Finer and finer it is. But for the rest ~ those you meet on a journey ~ be grateful for the times you’ve had together, let it go when it’s over, bear no grudges, above all, don’t prolong it falsely. No one knows at the start what a friendship’s going to be. Don’t hang on and be false. Life’s a movement or ought to be. Don’t be sentimental over reminiscences and don’t charge others with falseness. On the whole, you’ll be treated as you deserve.’

Source: Van Duzer, Adelaide Laura, et. al. Everyday Living for Girls. Chicago: J. B. Lippincott Company,1936.
~ pp. 380-82 ~

Love and Jealousy

Monday, July 12th, 2010

the most passionate form of egotismQ Dear Miss Abigail:

I have been with this young lady for almost two years. Lately, we haven’t been getting along and often disagree with each other. We are now finding out that we are two totally different people. Yet, we still love each other very much. And I have a problem with insecurity and jealousness. What do I do?


A Dear Daniel:

Jealousy has no business in a loving relationship! Are you sure you are in love? Author Edward Howard Griggs, who wroteFriendship, Love and Marriage in 1915, might be able to help you figure this out.

1915: Jealousy

Love and jealousy are mutually exclusive: where the one is, to that extent, generally speaking, the other is not. Jealousy springs from the old notion of women as property, and while it may wear the mask of love, it is really love’s opposite. Amiel says: ‘Jealousy is a terrible thing. It resembles love, only it is precisely love’s contrary. Instead of wishing for the welfare of the object loved, it desires to dependence of that object upon itself and its own triumph. Love is the forgetfulness of self; jealousy is the most passionate form of egotism, the glorification of a despotic, exacting, and vain ego, which can neither forget nor subordinate itself. The contrast is perfect . . . .

Jealousy must be abrogated, and mutual freedom and respect for personality be accorded. An attitude of jealous ownership puts the premium on evasion and deceit, while love that respects personality invites frankness and encourages loyalty.

Source: Griggs, Edward Howard. Friendship, Love and Marriage. New York: B. W. Huebsch, 1915.
~ pp. 67-68~