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by Abigail Van Buren

Unemployed Woman Is Forgotten by Friends, Former Co Workers

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are occasionally invited out to eat at expensive restaurants by a couple with whom we are friendly. The problem is the wife never fails to complain about the food. It's the wrong meal, it was prepared incorrectly, it wasn't what she ordered, etc. Even after her demands have been catered to, she continues to complain throughout the entire meal.

It is embarrassing to see the wait staff treated this way. We have become hesitant about joining them, but out of fear of hurting their feelings, we go. Then we regret having had to spend so much money and having been embarrassed once again.

What should we say the next time we are invited? Should we tell the truth or make up an excuse? -- EMBARRASSED IN OHIO

DEAR EMBARRASSED: The next time you are invited to join them, tell the woman you have "other plans." (It's true. You "plan" not to be embarrassed again.) If, after repeated refusals, the woman asks if there is "something wrong," tell her exactly what you have told me. Her behavior is boorish and a bid for attention.