Decades ago, a smart housewife named Pauline Phillips who thought there might be more than mah-jongg to her life transformed herself into the syndicated columnist "Dear Abby," becoming a trusted, tart-tongued advisor to tens of millions. In a time before the Internet (hard to imagine, we know), her column's influence on American culture was huge; in popular parlance, Dear Abby was an affectionate synonym for trustworthy, friendly advice. How did she do it? "I learned how to listen," she told a newspaper interviewer years later. "Sometimes, when people come to you with a problem, the best thing you can do is listen." Phillips is seen above in an undated file photo.
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