DEAR HARRIETTE: My father says a lot of things that I don’t think are politically correct. He is quick to make racist and sexist comments. He is totally clueless about the way that people communicate today.
I love my dad, but I’m nervous about bringing my friends around. One of my best friends is gay. She hasn’t met my parents yet, and I worry that he may say something rude without even thinking about it. But it is important to me for my parents to know my friends. How can I set them up so that it will be a good experience? -- Reckless Dad
DEAR RECKLESS DAD: Start with a reality check. You have to accept that you cannot control your father. You can ask him to be respectful of your friends when you bring them to meet the family. Express to him how important it is to you that your friends get to know him and your mother. He needs to understand how much you value his presence in your life. With that, you can pivot and tell him about your friend who is gay, and ask him to be kind to her.
You should also talk to your friend and let her know that your father can be brash and insensitive sometimes. Make her aware that he could say something rude. Tell her you want her to meet him anyway, but you cannot control his behavior. If she does not want to meet him under those circumstances, that is perfectly understandable. If she does come and he starts in with rude comments, you can jump in and change the subject or excuse yourselves and leave the room.