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by Abigail Van Buren

Enthusiasm Wanes For Longtime Friendships

DEAR ABBY: We entertain frequently because, in our large group of longtime friends, we are the only ones who do. In this way we assure to some degree that the friendships survive.

Folks sometimes volunteer to bring something, but often they don't. Even when they do, they put it together while I'm in the middle of my own preparations. They interrupt me by asking for a serving dish and sometimes want to use the oven while I am using it. This is not my idea of "helping."

Otherwise, they are very dear people, but with the passage of time I am losing my affection for them. If we don't entertain, no one will and the friendships won't survive. Abby, do you have any suggestions or is it too late? -- SURVIVING FRIENDSHIPS IN TEXAS

DEAR SURVIVING: It may be too late because a pattern has been established, and you're complaining to the wrong person. If you preferred that your kitchen not be invaded, you should have communicated that to the invaders who were getting in your way at the time it happened.

Do these people socialize with you at all unless it's at your parties? Even if these "friends" are unwilling or unable to entertain on the scale that you do, they long ago should have made some attempt to reciprocate your hospitality, and they appear to have made little or no effort. You might feel less taken advantage of if you widen your circle of acquaintances to include some couples with a stronger grasp of the social graces.

Read more in: Friends & Neighbors | Etiquette & Ethics