DEAR ABBY: We were recently at dinner with longtime friends whose political views are different from ours. I believe in the rule of etiquette about avoiding the topics of politics and religion in mixed company. Well, somehow the conversation turned political. Voices were raised and I stood up and ended it.
There are now many hurt feelings with the parties involved still disagreeing about what happened and how it was handled. I know my actions were extreme, but things were out of control and I was upset. How do I deal with this if we are invited to future events? - Keeping the Peace
DEAR KEEPING THE PEACE: You may be worrying needlessly, because you may not be invited to future events - at least until the next election is over. Whatever your friends were arguing about, while you had a right to speak up and say it was making you uncomfortable, because your reaction was "extreme," you may have been as rude as the others. If you caused hurt feelings that evening, you should apologize, if you haven't already.
DEAR ABBY: A sibling died recently and I have received numerous sympathy messages in the form of cards, gifts and online posts. Do the people who send them typically expect a response? I feel a little overwhelmed with the amount of attention, and I worry that they'll think I'm not appreciative if I don't respond in kind. What is your advice?
- Grieving but Grateful
DEAR GRIEVING BUT GRATEFUL: Their kindness should be acknowledged. To those who sent gifts and cards, a short note saying how much their support meant during this difficult time would be a gracious response. The online condolences could be handled with one email "blast" conveying the same thing, which shouldn't be offensive to those who sent their sympathy that way.