DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have always had a warm and close relationship with our college-age children. We often host their friends in our home, making certain they're comfortable, well-fed and welcome.
My son brought his girlfriend home for long weekends several times this year. Not once has she said thank you for meals, gifts or entertainment. When I asked her if the standing rib roast I had served was OK -- it's my specialty -- she said it wasn't cooked the way she likes it. She shows absolutely no interest in us, our home or the community in which our children grew up. She does offer to clear the table, but that's the extent of it. Upon leaving, she will say, "thanks." With the exception of one brief e-mail, we have never received a written note from her.
We love our son, and he may love her. But we're not eager to clean, shop for, cook and host this young lady again. If our son wants to bring her home for another holiday, what do you suggest we say or do? -- DISGUSTED IN SEATTLE
DEAR DISGUSTED: While your feelings are understandable, and you may be tempted to tell your son what you have told me, bite your tongue. If you say anything negative about his girlfriend, it will make him defensive and his instinct will be to defend her.
It would not, however, be "attacking" her to gently share with him that you and his father were "disappointed" that you never received a thank-you note from his houseguest, and wonder if she was raised without having been taught the social graces. If he's serious about her, he might clue her in. But if he doesn't, and he wants to bring her home for the holidays, I have the ideal gift for her -- a book on etiquette.