DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have been friends with Bri for over 25 years. We became especially close as she fought, and won, a battle with breast cancer.
She and her husband have enjoyed great financial success. I’m happy for them, but our friendship has begun to suffer, sparked by Bri’s flaunting her money.
I am newly retired and have a comfortable income, but am on a budget. Bri buys very expensive clothing and especially purses, spending thousands on just one. She shops constantly, a new item every time I see her. I would never spend $5,000 for a purse.
She makes snarky remarks about my being cheap. I ignore this, but then she embarrassed me in front of her daughter-in-law by offering me a job, smirking, saying that I had financial problems.
I was shocked, as I’d never said that, nor is it true! I responded that I wouldn’t have retired if I didn’t have the money to do so. I have a very comfortable retirement income, but that’s none of her business!
The time has come to end this relationship, so I’ve decided to pass on Bri’s future invitations to socialize. How do I proceed?
GENTLE READER: Politely decline the invitations without excuse. And then ignore the inevitable rumors she spreads about the reasons why.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: We are limited on the amount of guests we can invite to my daughter’s wedding, since the venue is tight. One friend responded “yes” to both the engagement party and bridal shower, but pulled a no-show to one and canceled last minute to the other.
I don’t feel obligated to include her at the wedding, but my daughter is worried since she has already received a save-the-date. Should she get an invite?
GENTLE READER: Unfortunately, Miss Manners has to agree with your daughter. A save-the-date is an obligation on the part of its sender to follow up with an invitation.
Responding in the affirmative is an obligation for the guest to attend, and as that part of the contract has been repeatedly violated, Miss Manners will permit you to amend yours.
After the invitation is sent, contact your friend, expressing extreme concern that two emergencies in close proximity must have been difficult on her and hope that her troubles will be over in time for you to see her at the wedding. If she does not confirm, you will convey regret to her and secretly rejoice in discreetly opening another spot for a presumably more grateful and reliable guest.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am the only girl in my family, with three brothers. My mom asked me if I would give her a retirement party next year.
I’m happy to do it, but financially, I cannot shoulder all the responsibilities on my own. I politely solicited assistance from my brothers, to no avail. Is it tacky to ask mom for financial assistance with her own party?
GENTLE READER: Yes, but it was equally unseemly for her to demand one. Tell your mother that you would love to host it in her home, but require her assistance in getting the menu just right. And, Miss Manners recommends, in nagging your brothers to help.