DEAR ABBY: My best friend of 40 years and her boyfriend live several states away from my husband and me. Every winter she and her friend expect to come to our home for a week. We simply can no longer do this.
Her friend is a nice guy, but after a few days we can hardly stand it. He talks constantly and knows everything about everything. How can I politely tell my friend that we can't accommodate them anymore without hurting her feelings and maybe ending our friendship? -- WEARY OUT WEST
DEAR WEARY: Try this. When your old friend mentions coming to visit, tell her you aren't up to having houseguests. If she asks why, and she probably will, say you're not as young as you used to be -- it's true. Neither am I. Tell her you can accommodate them for a weekend. If that doesn't work, say your husband isn't up for company. (Also true.) However, if neither excuse suffices, you may have to choose between telling your friend the truth and fibbing by saying you plan to be out of town.
DEAR ABBY: For mothers out there who wonder why their "wonderful" grown daughters don't have boyfriends, maybe it is because they are too dependent on YOU. No guy wants to be involved with a woman who calls or texts her mom multiple times a day (unless she is ill). No guy wants a girl who can't make a decision without consulting Mom, and he certainly doesn't want the intimate details of his relationship to be shared with you.
Men want confident women, not girls still tied to their mother's apron strings. If you want your daughter to find a man, stay out of her love life and teach her to make her own decisions! -- HATES MEDDLING MOTHERS
DEAR HATES: I have long advised young women how important it is to gain independence before becoming romantically involved with anyone. I agree that women who can stand on their own two feet are more appealing than those who are still dependent upon their parents. Your letter verifies the truth of what I have been saying.
DEAR ABBY: I recently received an invitation to a dear friend's grandson's 5th birthday party. In lieu of gifts, donations were requested to a choice of politically affiliated "charitable" organizations. I cannot, in good conscience, support any of them.
What's the appropriate course of action here? Must I give the child a gift anyway, or just stay away from the party? I really don't want to get into any political discussions with either the parents or the grandparents, and I think there would be hurt feelings if I don't show up. -- IN A BIND
DEAR IN A BIND: What a shame that a child's party was used as an excuse for a political fundraiser. I can't imagine any 5-year-old being "thrilled" to receive a political donation as a birthday gift.
However, because the child is the grandson of a "dear" friend, I do think a gift is in order. Make it something a 5-year-old will enjoy, have it delivered, and find an excuse not to attend if you feel it will devolve into something you prefer to avoid. Hurt feelings or not, you are not obligated to go to the party.
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order "How to Be Popular." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)