Ask Natalie by Natalie Bencivenga

Extra Sports Ticket Tension

DEAR NATALIE: We have season tickets to the Penguins, Steelers and Pirates. We often ask friends to join us. Occasionally, when offered tickets, they will text back that they cannot go, but their child, cousin, co-worker, uncle, etc., will take them. Our idea is to spend time with THEM not who they want to give them to. Suggestions on how to get out of these awkward situations? -- TENSE WITH TICKETS

DEAR TENSE WITH TICKETS: The next time you offer tickets (and, by the way, I'm free this weekend) try saying it like this: "Hi, Chloe! How are you and Liza doing? We would love to have you join us for the Pirates game on Saturday. Please let me know if you and Liza can make it. If you can't that's totally fine, we can rain check, as we may offer them to our nephew and his wife. but we wanted to ask you first. We miss you and hope you can join us!" This way, you are making it clear that these aren't just a free giveaway but a chance to spend some time together. It also makes it clear that you have another person lined up, but you wanted to give them first dibs. It's a win-win. 

 Natalie's Networking Tip of the Week: Fear of missing out? You can't say yes to everyone, even if you want to, so be selective in what events you attend. Give yourself a budget (both of time and money) that you contribute to your networking and stick to it. Prevent burnout and enjoy your experiences. 

Please send your relationship and lifestyle questions to or tweet them to @NBSeen. You can also send postal letters to Natalie Bencivenga, 358 North Shore Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15212

(This column was originally published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)