Annies Mailbox: Woman has to dodge invites from strange couple

Dear Annie: I enjoy taking my 8-year-old daughter to our neighborhood park.

Over time, she’s made many friends there, and while she has become close with some, there are others I’d prefer remain “playground friends” only. Most people seem to understand this.

There is one set of parents I do not care for at all. Their little girl is sweet, and I hate to avoid her simply because she has weird parents.

Her mom has tried repeatedly to get me to drop off my daughter at their house for playtime. I don’t know her well and don’t feel comfortable doing this.

Worse, the father, who apparently has anger management issues, is estranged “again” from the family and has asked if my daughter could accompany him to the park near his home so she can play with his little girl.

I’ve dodged all their requests so far, but am looking for a way to make it clear that, although their daughter is nice and my child enjoys playing with her, that’s as far as the friendship will ever go.

Any suggestions?

— Ohio

Dear Ohio: There is no nice way to say, “Your daughter is sweet, but you and your husband scare the dickens out of me, and I don’t want my kid around you.” The polite custom is to be noncommittal by saying, “We’ll see” or “Perhaps another time.”

If you are willing, it would be nice to offer to take their daughter for an afternoon. Say, “I prefer to have my daughter with me. Maybe I could bring your child to our house and I’ll drive her home later.”

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