Dear Abby: Relatives stay with us but don’t socialize with us

Couple keeps having awkward moments when the man’s visiting siblings unexpectedly run off to enjoy others’ company.

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DEAR ABBY: I have a problem I haven’t seen in your column before. My husband comes from a large family with siblings spread far and wide. We live in the home state and are happy to accommodate his brothers and sisters (families, dogs) when they come home to visit and ask to stay with us.

While it’s never said openly, it quickly becomes clear that the purpose of their visit is to do activities with people other than my husband and me. In the past, we cleared our calendars and expected to entertain and feed these visitors. It becomes awkward when they unexpectedly leave for events with other people — once a Christmas Eve dinner! Advice? — AWKWARD IN THE MIDWEST

DEAR AWKWARD: Do not be confrontational, but when plans are being made for the next visit, you and your husband should ask his relatives which days or evenings you should expect to entertain them. That way you won’t have needlessly cleared your calendar only to be left standing at the curb.

DEAR ABBY: My fiancee, “Mia,” lost her dad two years ago, and her mother recently announced to the family that she is seeing someone. She has been staying over at his house, and she is planning to sell her home and move in with him. Mia is very upset about it.

Her mom is now in the process of getting rid of her father’s belongings. She feels like her mom is erasing her father from their lives. How long should her mother have waited? Is Mia being selfish? Shouldn’t she be happy for her mother? — GOING FORWARD IN THE EAST

DEAR GOING: I hesitate to call your fiancee selfish as much as self-CENTERED. Her mother has waited a respectful amount of time. She isn’t erasing her late husband from her life or her children’s as much as going on with hers, which is healthy.

I wish you had mentioned how long she has been seeing the man she’s planning on moving in with, because it might be pertinent. For her own protection, she should discuss her plans with her lawyer to ensure that she — and her assets — are safeguarded before she sells her house.

DEAR ABBY: A good friend of mine is giving a baby shower next month for her grandson and granddaughter-in-law. She wants to invite many of her longtime friends to the shower, but most of them have little or no history or relationship with her grandson or his wife, and neither one really wants them to be invited. The grandmother, however, thinks it would be rude not to. Your thoughts? — INVITED IN THE WEST

DEAR INVITED: Someone should remind your good friend that the celebration is not for her, and that showers aren’t supposed to be hosted by close relatives but by friends of the honoree. Not only would your friend’s contemporaries not be offended if they are not invited, they would probably feel relieved. People of Great-Grandma-To-Be’s generation have been through so many showers they aren’t likely to have hurt feelings if the younger generation takes over, unless they’re very close to the honoree.

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.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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