DEAR ABBY: I play cards with a group of men I have known for more than 20 years. We switch partners after six hands so everyone partners with everyone.
One member of the group has now become unable to remember the rules and constantly asks how he should respond to his partner's bid. He also keeps asking the score and whose deal it is. Because we give small prizes for the high score, I think it's cheating to discuss a hand across the table.
What should we do when he asks the rules or how to bid a hand? Should I find another group to play with, and how can I explain my reason for quitting the group?
- Player in the South
DEAR PLAYER: What a sad dilemma. Before quitting the group, discuss this privately with the other members. Are the small prizes worth the friendship?
Because this man is no longer able to remember how the hands are played, in light of your long friendship, perhaps the group could arrange to do some other activity with him once a week instead of the card game. That way, although he's no longer able to participate in the games as he has before, he won't be completely isolated. In situations like this, relationships and emotional support are very important. I hope you will consider it.
Doesn't deserve a gift
DEAR ABBY: One of my nephews is turning 24 soon. I am reluctant to get him a birthday gift because he's lazy and disrespectful and makes up excuse after excuse for not working. On top of that, he has a 1-year-old daughter and managed to get his family evicted because he felt the mother should do everything - and I mean EVERYthing.
He's on his cellphone all day texting other women or posting Facebook nonsense. The mother of his child finally woke up and left him, so now he has moved in with his mother.
I am trying to understand why I need to give him a birthday gift. He was dropping hints about his birthday during a family dinner the other day. No one said a word. Everyone ignored him, including his mother.
We're pretty sure he won't be living with her long before he's kicked out. We have all tried to help and support him, but we are tired and no longer want to be bothered.
Must I give him a birthday gift? Or should I use the excuse he gives everyone else: "Oh, I ordered your gift online and they must not have shipped it yet."
- Tired of this mess
DEAR TIRED: You are not obligated to send your nephew a gift. A card might be nice, if you're inclined to take the high road.