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

by Abigail Van Buren

Table Hopping Friend Deserts Dinner Companions to Hobnob

DEAR ABBY: From time to time, my husband and I are asked by some friends to dine out with them. However, the wife does some things that make us very uncomfortable. She prides herself on being friendly and outgoing. When we're in a restaurant, she'll go from table to table and engage in conversations with people she doesn't know. She'll ask where they're from, what they've ordered, etc. Once, she eavesdropped while the people at the next table discussed what they were ordering and gave them her opinion on what they should "really" order. It progressed to her joining them for a short time at their table for further conversation.

While I appreciate that she's trying to impress us, it embarrasses my husband and me. How do we handle the situation without telling her, making her feel bad and putting a strain on our friendship? We don't enjoy dining out with them like we used to. Are we overreacting, or is this bad manners? -- MORTIFIED IN SALT LAKE CITY

DEAR MORTIFIED: If you and your husband are dinner guests, the lady should be devoting her attention to you and not the other diners in the restaurant. To leave you and go table-hopping is rude. However, to call her on it would be equally rude. So, because you don't enjoy dining out with them the way you used to, do it less often and it will be less upsetting.