DEAR ABBY: I am a Chinese-American from Taiwan. I have a college education and have lived in San Francisco for 10 years.
My friends "Arthur" and "Larry" are a Japanese-American couple who have lived in a deluxe mansion for 22 years. One day, they invited "Ron" and me for a homemade dinner. At the last minute I brought along "Richard" without calling them for permission. Arthur was angry when he saw that I brought an extra guest and said to me in the kitchen, "It is very rude to bring a guest with no advance notice. Didn't your mother teach you any manners?"
All I could say was, "Sorry, sorry!"
He refused to cook the meal and left the house in a huff. Larry entertained us and said to me, "I don't mind the extra guest."
In my family, my mother always welcomed extra guests by saying, "Don't worry -- all we need is to provide one more pair of chopsticks for the guest."
The next day, Larry informed me that Arthur had decided to punish me by not talking to me for three months. He bought me a book on etiquette by Emily and Elizabeth L. Post.
Abby, was my innocent mistake really that terrible, or did Arthur overreact? What should I do after the three-month punishment? Beg him for forgiveness, or end the friendship? -- WONDERING IN SAN FRANCISCO
DEAR WONDERING: Although it's considered bad manners to bring an uninvited guest to a dinner party without first asking permission from the host, it is far worse manners for a host to refuse to cook the dinner and walk out!
Yes, indeed, Arthur overreacted. He owes all of you an apology. However, what you do following the three-month silence depends entirely upon how much you value the relationship with this couple.