DEAR HARRIETTE: I went to a small party in my building and had a great time visiting with neighbors. As I left, I saw another neighbor coming into our building, and she immediately wanted to know where I had been and what I had been doing. I attempted to dodge her questions because she knows the host of the party, and I figured she would be hurt that she wasn't invited -- even though it was a small party and it was his choice not to invite her. She figured it out and asked me for his phone number so that she could call him and curse him out. I did not give it to her, and she got really mad. What should I have done differently in that situation? -- In a Pickle, Washington, D.C.
DEAR IN A PICKLE: The general rule is to enjoy yourself wherever you go and keep the experience to yourself. This is true for the very reason that you just experienced. Of course, people have the right to invite whomever they choose to their parties. But it is also common for others to get their feelings hurt if they feel left out.
In this situation, you could have not acknowledged where you had been. Even though your uninvited neighbor was prying, you did not have to divulge your whereabouts. You could have remained evasive. Then she could only guess as to whether your mutual friend had indeed hosted a party.
To the neighbor who felt slighted, I would add that she should not take things so personally. As an adult, she should know that people have the authority to choose who comes to their homes, just as she does. Not choosing her this time does not mean she is not liked. It means she was not invited this time.