Dear Annie: For the past 20 years, I have been fortunate to have four neighbors who have become good friends. We socialize, take care of each others’ houses when one is out of town, and exchange birthday and Christmas gifts. We also have celebrated our children’s milestones.
Last year, “Patty’s” son got married. For several months, she went on and on about the wedding plans, so we were all surprised when none of us was invited to the wedding. She never said a word about our being excluded. We thought maybe the guest list was limited or the groom’s family was given a smaller number of invitations. But after the wedding, Patty rambled on and on about the festivities and showed us all the pictures. It was a huge wedding, and several of Patty’s other friends were in attendance.
Now Patty’s daughter-in-law is pregnant, and she is planning a baby shower. To this event, we are invited, along with her other friends, but we don’t want to go. Although we have known Patty’s son for years, we have never met the daughter-in-law.
Are we wrong to have hurt feelings, or is Patty totally thoughtless? One of these women wants nothing more to do with her. I am sad to think we might lose our wonderful neighborhood feeling. Any suggestions?
Dear Nevada: Some people separate their friends and don’t mix Group A with Group B. But whatever the reason, it was terribly insensitive of Patty to prattle on about the wedding plans and show you the pictures. It is OK to take her aside and tell her how hurt all of you were by the exclusion and see if she says anything that will allow you to forgive her. Inviting you to the shower could simply be a grab for gifts, but it also could be her way of making up for the previous slight. How you choose to interpret it will determine the future of the relationship.
Dear Annie: During the course of a conversation, my husband’s best friend called me “gargantuan.” I was shocked and insulted. I find the word to be an unflattering description of anyone. I argued the point, but he was adamant. This really hurt me, and worse, my husband didn’t say anything in my defense. Then my in-laws came to visit. Feeling in need of some cheering up, I asked what they thought about the comment. They agreed with the description!
Annie, I am a 42-year-old female, am nearly 5 feet 9 inches tall and weigh 150 pounds. I’d like to be a bit thinner, but I’m not that big. Now I feel like an ugly, fat freak with long legs.
I don’t have anyone to talk to because I’m afraid they’ll see me the same way. What can I do?
— Gargantuan Freak
Dear G.F.: You don’t sound particularly gigantic to us -- neither overly tall, nor particularly overweight. We can only assume your husband’s family and friends must be quite short and rather delicate. You might tell them so.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Worried Mom,” whose older son is athletic and a scholar, but whose younger teen, “Logan,” is overweight and unmotivated. I suspect the main problem is that Logan is in the shadow of a superstar older brother.
Logan sounds like a fairly normal teenage boy to me. My son was bright as the dickens and an underachiever until he joined (of his own initiative and against my wishes) his high school Junior ROTC program, in which he excelled. In addition to the way it changed his life, I gained an appreciation for this nation’s military. He is now in his late 20s and making six figures at a major corporation, while still working on an undergraduate degree.
— L.A. Mom
Dear L.A.: Many readers suggested that Mom was comparing her sons, and this is always a bad idea. Thanks for the words of encouragement.