DEAR ABBY: I lost my longtime job but have remained in contact with a few former co-workers, meeting for an occasional lunch or dinner. One woman in particular has been pushing to meet at my place. Abby, I'm not proud of where I live now, and I don't want to have to explain this to her.
So far, I have side-stepped by saying that I prefer to get out of the house, but I'm worried that one day she will announce that she's "in my neighborhood" and ask to drop by. I'm really uncomfortable with that, but I don't know an appropriate response that will keep our relationship cordial, because I do value the times we see each other. Any suggestions? -- DOWNSCALE IN DELAWARE
DEAR DOWNSCALE: There are various excuses you can use if she wants to drop by. Your place "might not be presentable now," or you might "not feel up for company," or you are "in the middle of a project you need to finish," or you will be "leaving shortly and don't have time" that day. If you rotate the deflections as needed, your friend may eventually get the idea without your having to say it directly.