DEAR ABBY: I have a son with two good friends. They are at my house often and are really good boys. I enjoy them, and I'm glad my son is friendly with them.
The problem is their mothers. Both these women are receptive to playdate invites, but when I see them in social situations, they say very little to me and almost act as if they don't know me. Even when they pick up their kids, talking to them is awkward, and they give the impression they're always in a hurry.
I think if your kids spend five hours at my house and I have fed them, I deserve a little face time at the very least. I find their behavior rude and would love to say something. I'm just not sure how. What do you suggest? -- PLAYDATE ETIQUETTE
DEAR PLAYDATE ETIQUETTE: I think you are expecting too much of these women. Because your son is friendly with theirs does not guarantee that the friendship must extend to the parents. If the only thing you have in common with them is the fact that their boys spend time with your son, then it may not be so much a matter of what you "deserve" but what they are comfortable with. If you want to be compensated for the snacks, then say so, but don't expect them to be paid for with friendship ... 'cause it ain't gonna happen.
DEAR ABBY: I have been widowed for four years and have had the good fortune to meet someone special. I'll call him Jerry. My mother-in-law, whom I am very close to, is still grieving the loss of her son. She says it is hard for her to see Jerry and me together.
Does this mean I can't invite him to any family events? We are at the point in our relationship where I think it would be unkind to make him feel like he is not welcome. Jerry has been patient, loving and considerate of me and my kids. What do you think I should do? -- DOESN'T WANT TO HURT HER
DEAR DOESN'T: Your mother-in-law will always grieve the loss of her son. The question is, is she willing to risk becoming distanced from you and the grandchildren? Talk to her about your relationship with Jerry and explain that you still would like to be a part of her life, but that it will require her to accept the new man in yours.
DEAR ABBY: My daughter, "Joanne," is 42 and lives at home with me. She's attractive, friendly, well-liked and has a good job. She pays all her own bills.
The problem is, she seems stuck in her life. She hasn't dated in years and appears content to just go to work and come home.
Whenever I try to encourage her to get out more, she says, "It is what it is." She's not shy. She's outgoing, so I don't understand. I'd love for her to be independent and have her own apartment. Sometimes she'll turn it around and ask, "Do you want me to leave?"
Joanne doesn't seem to understand that I'm concerned only for her future. She has no siblings, and I worry that when I'm gone she'll be alone. I want her to get out more, meet someone and eventually fall in love. How do I get through to her without nagging? -- ONLY WANTS THE BEST FOR HER
DEAR ONLY WANTS THE BEST: Your daughter has many positive attributes. Has it occurred to you that she may be perfectly happy with her life as it is and not looking for the kind of life you would like her to have? Worrying about her won't do either of you any good. Let the future work itself out. There's an old proverb with much truth in it: "Man plans; God laughs."
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