Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Aunt Is Not Wild About This Harry's Lack of Social Skills

DEAR ABBY: How many days advance notice should you give a family member before advising him that you will be coming for a visit? My nephew, "Harry," called his brother, "Milton," at 6 p.m. on a Sunday to let him know he was planning to arrive at his home the following Tuesday afternoon for a visit. (Harry rarely talks with Milton, let alone visits him.) Harry was offended when Milton didn't seem thrilled with the idea. (Milton did not say no; he said "OK.") Milton is taking care of his wife who is recovering from surgery and may have been overwhelmed at the idea of guests.

Since the world revolves around Harry, I am sure he forgot to inquire into the state of his sister-in-law's health when he called. Now Harry is refusing to visit because of what he perceived as Milton's response.

I feel it is time for this old lady to say something to this self-centered little jerk. However, before I put in my 2 cents' worth, I need to know if 36 hours is an appropriate time frame. -- CLUELESS IN CURRY VILLAGE

DEAR CLUELESS: Harry needs to polish his social graces because he, not you, is clueless. It is never appropriate to "inform" anyone that you will be coming for a visit. The polite way to do it is to ask if a visit would be convenient, so if it is NOT convenient, the potential host has an "out."