DEAR ABBY: My son's birthday was yesterday. I invited him to dinner at a very nice restaurant. When he showed up, he had two other men with him. They didn't offer to pay for their food, so I had to pay for all of us.
My son is 32, and I would like to say something about this to him. Or should I just not invite him to nice dinners out?
- Taken Advantage of in Texas
DEAR TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF: No. Say something to him. And when you do, it should be something like this: "Son, springing unexpected guests on your host is bad manners. You should have asked permission first. I was appalled that your friends didn't offer to share the expense. Please don't do that again because if you do, I'll stop inviting you."
DEAR ABBY: My parents divorced many years ago. Dad started dating and moved in with a woman I'll call Crystal a few months later. They stayed together for several years. I lived with them part time then, and eventually only occasionally. I don't have a good relationship with my father.
Since then, he and Crystal have broken up and dad moved away. I never felt particularly close with her, but she calls and emails me incessantly, begging me to spend time together. She even refers to her daughter as my "sister." She never showed much interest in me when we lived together, and I'm confused how to respond.
DEAR BEWILDERED: Crystal may be attempting to maintain a presence in your father's life by continuing a relationship with you. The next time she emails, email her back and point out that your father has moved on with his life, and it is time for her to do the same because you are busy.
A NOTE TO PARENTS OF YOUNG CHILDREN: Tonight is the night when wee witches and goblins collect their loot. Please supervise them so they'll be safe. Happy Halloween, everyone!