DEAR ABBY: Every year, I throw a Christmas party for 25 or 30 people. What is the polite response when I'm asked by a prior attendee, whom I do not wish to invite, if I am throwing a party again this year?
This happened three times last year, and I don't know how to handle the question. I could never respond with a blunt, "Yes, but you're not invited." Nor would I be comfortable with the lie of "No." So I usually stammer some vague nonanswer about not even having my Christmas cards out yet.
My honest response would be, "I am -- but regrettably, I just can't invite everyone I would like to. Let's plan to get together after the holidays."
I don't want to cause the hurt feelings that being excluded would create, especially when it is someone whose company I enjoy. At the same time, though, I am blessed with a large circle of friends and acquaintances, and can invite only so many people.
How would you or your readers respond to a question like this that probably shouldn't have been asked in the first place? Or am I just being overly sensitive? -- POLITE HOST, SEATTLE
DEAR POLITE: You are not being overly sensitive -- you are simply a host who has trouble saying no. Your honest response is the best way to explain the situation.