DEAR HARRIETTE: A month ago, my girlfriend told me that she wanted me to attend an important event of hers at 4 p.m. one day. I took off the second half of my workday in anticipation. However, the night before her event, she informed me that it was actually at 10 a.m. I was able to switch so I could get the morning off instead of the afternoon without a problem. But the next day, my girlfriend had the nerve to be mad at me for not taking the whole day off to spend time with her family. I told her that she had no right to expect me to do that, especially after dropping a different time on me at the last minute. Was I right? -- Unappreciated, Denver
DEAR UNAPPRECIATED: You and your girlfriend did not have a complete communication about her event. As a result, you both have hard feelings, and your schedule got turned inside out. In the best of worlds, she would have told you the scope of the event and her preferred intentions for your involvement in it. She also absolutely should have kept you up to date on time changes.
Given that this event included her family, it is understandable that she wanted you to be a part of the entire event, but given that she didn't give you the parameters, you should not be expected to be a mind reader.
You two need to have a sit-down where you talk about the event. Explain that you did not have a full understanding of the event, her desire for your participation, the final timing or her family's involvement. Tell your girlfriend that you did your best to be there for her based upon the information she shared with you. Had she wanted you to take off the whole day, you needed her to make that request in advance. Apologize for not being as present as she desired, but that in order for that to happen, the two of you need to be more specific in your communication.
This is not a question of right or wrong. Instead, it is an issue of clarity in a relationship. Let go of your anger and work with your girlfriend to do a better job of being on the same page.