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by Abigail Van Buren

Group of Friends Splinters Following Sleepover Snub

DEAR ABBY: My 11-year-old daughter recently asked to have a sleepover with some of her best friends. She's part of a "club" with five other girls. Four of them are her best friends, so she invited them. However, my daughter is not close with the fifth girl, "Debbie." They don't hang out at school and barely hang out during their club activities.

When Debbie's mother found out my daughter had invited the others, she accused me of excluding Debbie intentionally. I received a rude text from her telling me they were quitting the club.

In the past, we have gone above and beyond to keep her daughter included in the club activities, but when it comes to my daughter wanting to hang out with her friends outside of that, I feel she should be able to invite whoever she wants. Should I have made my daughter invite Debbie to her sleepover even though they aren't really friends? -- "MEAN MOM"

DEAR "MEAN MOM": Obviously, Debbie is close enough with some of the other girls that they told her about the sleepover. Your daughter may not like Debbie as much as she likes the other "club" members -- which seems more like a clique to me -- but I don't think that's a reason to exclude or attempt to isolate her. Because all of the other girls were asked, Debbie should not have been snubbed. For a moment, put yourself in her shoes.

Read more in: Family & Parenting

DEAR ABBY: I have many friends with grandchildren, two of whom love to show me photos of them. I don't mind looking at a few, but recently, during a two-hour lunch, one friend insisted on showing me pictures and videos the entire time. I swear I'm not exaggerating. Another friend has four five-minute videos I'm supposed to watch.

I show pictures of my grandchildren only occasionally. Would it be rude if, the next time this happens, I say something like, "I'd love to see a couple, but remember -- I have eight grandchildren and more than 700 photos and videos on my phone"? -- BLEARY-EYED IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR BLEARY-EYED: I don't think it would be rude. It might be an effective reminder that granny-bragging is a two-way street.

Read more in: Friends & Neighbors

DEAR ABBY: My niece is soliciting donations for her boyfriend's young daughter's upcoming operation. I'm hesitant because they both smoke, and with the price of cigarettes these days, it's taking a chunk out of his paycheck -- not to mention the health risks. I realize the child isn't to blame. Should we go ahead and donate, knowing some it is being used to finance their tobacco habit? -- NO FAN OF SMOKING

DEAR NO FAN OF SMOKING: This is not a referendum on smoking; it's a request for help to pay for needed surgery for a child. Yes, you should give them a donation if you have it to spare.

Read more in: Money | Etiquette & Ethics | Health & Safety

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