Dear Abby: Now you’re invited on vacation, and now you’re not

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DEAR ABBY: My son “Jeff” is wealthy and lives in another state with his wife and family. His wife has now moved her mother to where they live and she works for my son.

Jeff and his family take vacations several times a year in the U.S. and out of it, and always include her mother or her father and his wife. Two months ago, he invited his sister and niece to go with them. They were very excited, but a few days later he called them and said his wife wanted her mother to go, so the invitation was withdrawn.

My son and his wife don’t think they did anything wrong, but there have been bad feelings ever since, and they continue to take her family everywhere.

How would you handle this? Would you keep silent or speak to them? — NOT INVITED IN OKLAHOMA

DEAR NOT INVITED: It appears your son’s wife rules the roost. I don’t blame your daughter for feeling hurt, because what your son did was insensitive and rude.

The problem with keeping silent is that hurt feelings fester and grow. If it were I, I wouldn’t fume in silence. Your daughter should talk to her brother about what happened, and point out how hurtful rescinding the invitation was to her and her daughter.

Getting it off her chest may make her feel better.

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DEAR ABBY: I’m a 69-year-old woman. I look my age because, unlike most of my friends, I don’t color my hair.

Sometimes when I’m shopping — such as in a grocery store — employees call me “young lady,” as in “How are you today, young lady?”

I find it condescending. Why is it necessary to make reference to my age? Obviously, they don’t think I’m young at all.

What would you say in these situations? — IRRITATED IN SAN DIEGO

DEAR IRRITATED: You are asking a question I receive often. Older women not only resent being called “young lady,” they also dislike being called “honey” and “sweetie” by someone who doesn’t know them well.

Because it bothers you, tell the person, “I know you’re trying to be nice, but in the future, please use my name or call me ‘ma’am.’”

This is something you might also mention to the store manager, so he or she can remind the staff that not everyone appreciates the over-familiarity.

DEAR ABBY: Recently, on an airline flight, the passenger next to me put her feet (with shoes on) onto the headrest in front of her. No one was in the seat.

Since she had her headphones on, I tapped her on the shoulder and indicated that it was unsanitary to put one’s feet where normally a passenger’s head should be. I got a dirty look for my efforts, and the young woman made quite a scene.

Should I have ignored the situation, or said something to the flight attendants? What do you recommend? — UNSANITARY IN THE EAST

DEAR UNSANITARY: If you had quietly alerted the flight attendants and let them handle it, you would have spared yourself the unpleasantness you experienced. That’s what I would recommend.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

Good advice for everyone — teens to seniors — is in “The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It.” To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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