DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are not big fans of his best friend's wife. "Aracely" is extremely ill-mannered. She never says thank you, didn't even write thank-you notes for their wedding and baby showers, and when we're at a restaurant will loudly announce that the food was "disgusting."
Aracely claims our baby "cries too much." She arrived at my son's second birthday party with a hangover and so much more. She claims she doesn't observe our "Southern ways" because she comes from South America and has been in the United States for only eight years.
We keep our interactions with her limited, but do not cut her off completely because my husband values his friendship with her husband. I told my husband I'm considering giving her an etiquette book, but he said it would be rude. I disagree. I think it would nullify Aracely's argument that she doesn't understand our "Southern" manners. Do you agree that it would be rude?
- Mannered Southern Gal
DEAR SOUTHERN GAL: Sorry, but I do agree, because the gift would be given with malicious intent, and I'm pretty sure that while Aracely lacks polish, she isn't stupid.
I have met individuals from South America who are educated, cultured and whose manners are refined. Obviously, Aracely does not come from this kind of background.
Only if you could pull it off without sounding catty, the next time she hauls out the excuse for her deplorable manners, you might "offer" to buy her an etiquette book so that she can "learn the ways of her adopted country" - but don't expect her to take you up on it.
DEAR ABBY: Would it be appropriate to send my future mother-in-law a Mother's Day card? I feel it would be a nice gesture to help start the relationship between us.
- Nick in Omaha
DEAR NICK: I concur. I suspect it will melt her heart to know you feel that way about her, even before you marry her daughter.