DEAR ABBY: I don't recall having seen this problem addressed in your column.
You're visiting the home of a friend you haven't seen in several years. Just before you leave, she invites you to stay for dinner, but she doesn't tell you what she's serving. It would be rude to say, "It depends on what you're having."
A thoughtful host should say, "Mary, we're having liver for dinner tonight; would you care to join us?" Hating liver, Mary could graciously decline by saying, "Oh, thank you, but I have dinner waiting at home. May I have a rain check?"
This way everyone saves face. What do you think? -- GRACIOUS GUEST IN BOSTON
DEAR GRACIOUS GUEST: In the first place, if "just before you leave" the hostess invites you to stay for dinner, it means you stayed too long.
Mary should not lie and ask her friend for a rain check. Her friend may then assume that Mary likes liver and invite her another time for a liver dinner. Instead she should thank the hostess and say she's sorry, but she can't stay for dinner.