DEAR ABBY: My family attends a local church, and we have made many friends within this congregation. However, there is one family in this congregation who wears out the welcome mat at our home, and I don't know how to handle it without making enemies.
For Memorial Day, we were having a picnic in our back yard with some friends. "Mr. Uninvited" drove by and, seeing that we had guests, "stopped in" and invited himself for dinner after asking, "What do you have for me to drink?" When a beer was offered, he responded, "Oh, this cheap brand -- don't you have anything else?"
It upsets me that he has the nerve to invite himself when it is obvious that we're having company and he was not invited. I would never do that to him. Then, the insults we hear if we're serving only hamburgers and hot dogs and not having surf and turf, really put the icing on the cake. He always comes "empty-handed," which does not improve the situation.
This is a family of four. The father and son are the worst offenders. They are a middle-class family, like us, so it's not a case of "he won't eat tonight if I don't feed him." In addition, they have never once invited us to their home.
I have on several occasions made remarks, trying to drop the hint that they are not welcome to barge into my home on all occasions, but he just doesn't "get it." I don't want to make an enemy, but I cannot tolerate his rudeness anymore. Any suggestions? -- NEEDS HELP WITH THE VISITORS
DEAR NEEDS HELP: I've often said, "If people take advantage of you once, shame on them -- if it happens more than once, shame on YOU."
You are being imposed upon, and it will continue until you take a firm stand. The next time the freeloader drops by when you are entertaining, say: "It's not convenient to have you visit us now. We'll see you another time."
If it costs you a friendship, you haven't lost much.