DEAR ABBY: Can you please explain the guidelines for reciprocating invitations? We have invited the "Smiths" to our home three times. Each time they said they were busy and would be for several weeks, so we stopped extending invitations. Then they had us over, and we had a really good time. This week I tried to reciprocate and, again, they are busy. Should I keep trying? Or is this a signal that the Smiths don't want to come to us for whatever reason? -- GOOD TIMES IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR GOOD TIMES: No rule of etiquette requires you to continue trying to coax this couple to your home. After three refusals, it's reasonable to conclude that -- for whatever reason -- they prefer to do the entertaining. While some might regard their refusals as a snub, I don't think you should because they did reach out and invite you over. Because you feel obligated, try inviting them out to dinner, and see if that brings better results.