05/01/1995DEAR ABBY: My 70th birthday is approaching, and I would like to give myself a party. I am a widow with no children, but I have many friends and a large family, and I would like to spend my birthday with them.
I am planning a dinner party in the private dining room of a restaurant. At my age, I have everything I want. Some of my guests will be younger people who need their money for other things, and I don't want anyone buying gifts for me.
Is it proper to give oneself a birthday party? How do I tell my guests not to bring gifts? Please answer soon. I want to start on my invitations. -- PARTY GIVER
DEAR PARTY: Of course you can give yourself a birthday party -- it's a wonderful idea. I'm sure it will be memorable, not only for you, but also for those with whom you choose to share it. On your invitation, add, "Your presence will be a cherished gift, and I respectfully request no other." Have a happy birthday.
DEAR ABBY: I have lived in this neighborhood for 12 years. Recently I received a wedding invitation from a neighbor's daughter, hand-delivered on a Thursday evening for a church wedding two days later -- yes, on Saturday!
The wedding invitations, according to the mother of the bride, had been sent a month earlier. She told us she had meant to deliver our invitation at that time, but it slipped her mind.
Abby, I had seen the bride-to-be and her mother several times in the last month, and neither of them mentioned a word about the wedding.
Of course, my husband and I did not go to the wedding; neither did we send a gift. We felt that we were invited at the last minute because they wanted another gift. Do you think we were wrong? -- NEIGHBORS
DEAR NEIGHBORS: Probably not. Your neighbors could have had several last-minute "regrets" (refusals) and needed to fill the vacancies.
I presume the wedding dinner was a catered affair, and unless the cancellations were received a week in advance, they had to pay for the dinners.
DEAR ABBY: "Fed Up in California" wrote to complain about guests who turned down dinner invitations to her home when invited. I'm surprised that you totally missed the obvious -- there must be a reason why people are reluctant to go to her house for a meal. C'mon, Abby!
We have some good friends who are wonderful people. They are great guests and can keep you entertained for hours. But eat at their house? Never!
The place is a pigsty. They have three dogs and a cat who are covered with fleas. They scratch constantly, and lie around all over the furniture. These people kill flies with a rolled-up newspaper and leave the little corpses lying wherever they fall -- on countertops, tables, furniture, etc.
The bathroom has no door, and before you sit down to eat you have to clean the peanut butter and jelly smears off the chair seats.
They keep inviting us over for dinner, and we keep dodging them because just the thought of eating there makes us queasy.
So, maybe "Fed Up" should step back and take a good look at herself and her home. She may be in for a rude awakening. -- BEEN THERE, DONE THAT
DEAR BEEN THERE: You say that these friends are "wonderful people." I believe you, but if you truly value their friendship, don't keep them in the dark about why you consistently decline their dinner invitations.
Tell them the truth, with love and candor. It would be one of the best gifts they ever received.
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