DEAR ABBY: My younger brother died unexpectedly two years ago. He was only 27. Since then, my parents have befriended his close friends. There are two couples, the "Smiths," who have a baby they named after my brother (my parents are his godparents), and the "Joneses" (Bill Jones was my brother's best friend growing up).
My parents want to invite them to every holiday dinner or event we have. My husband and I host the dinners at our home because it's larger than my parents' and we enjoy entertaining. The problem is, the Smiths and the Joneses are inconsiderate guests. They are always late -- an hour or more -- and my mother always wants to wait for them! They eat, run, and barely talk to my husband. Sometimes they fail to show up without even a phone call. (Also, they never offer to help or bring anything.)
My parents are very forgiving and do not seem offended by it, even though they know I was very annoyed at the last holiday dinner and said so.
My husband says we will no longer host any holiday dinners if the Smiths and Joneses are coming. I agree with my husband and couldn't care less if these "friends" attend. However, I don't want to upset my parents. I understand their need to keep a part of my brother alive. Nor do I want to stop having holiday parties at my home. My parents' home is messy, cluttered, and they have cats to which my husband is allergic. Mama stresses out when she has to have anyone over.
Are my husband and I wrong to say enough is enough and ban the friends? How should we handle this without upsetting my already emotionally fragile parents? -- DISGUSTED HOSTESS
DEAR DISGUSTED: The Smiths and Joneses appear to be completely ignorant about the social graces. Apparently, no one has told them the importance of being on time for a dinner party, or calling to inform the hosts if plans have changed and they will be unable to attend. Nor do they seem to realize that part of being good guests is making conversation with everyone at the party -- the host included.
If you haven't already discussed this with your parents, it's time you did. Tell them they would do the Smiths and Joneses a favor to explain the basic rules of etiquette to them -- because if they pull this one more time, they will no longer be invited to your home.
Frankly, they are behaving as if they don't want to be entertained in your home, and their rudeness conveys that they don't appreciate your hospitality.