Dear Abby: No, I don’t want to go to parties where you sell stuff

Friend wants to decline invitations to multilevel marketing events without hurting feelings.

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DEAR ABBY: I’m in my mid-40s, and a LOT of my female friends are involved in multilevel marketing companies. Whether it be for eyelashes, supplements, jewelry, anti-aging products, candles, leggings, etc., I receive nonstop “invitations” to buy their products.

I’m old enough to know from experience that most of the products are rubbish, and many times way overpriced. I’m simply not interested. How do I politely (yet firmly) decline the invitations that come my way without hurting their feelings? — MULTILEVEL MARKETING HATER

DEAR MULTILEVEL MARKETING: It’s time you recognize the difference between a friendship and a marketing ploy. If you are invited to something, feel free to ask whether there will be any selling and, if there will be, decline. To do so is not being rude or hurtful. Women who are really your friends will continue to be, and those who aren’t will disappear.

DEAR ABBY: My mom and stepdad occasionally watch my children to help us out or to spend time with them. I just found out that Mom will not put my 8-month-old into a crib or Pack ’n Play to sleep. She puts her into bed along with my 4-year-old son. I have asked my mother repeatedly not to do that, not only for safety, but so everyone can sleep. She refuses. She says I should trust the caretakers, and they should be allowed to do whatever they want when the kids are with them. Please tell me what to do. — FRUSTRATED DAUGHTER

DEAR FRUSTRATED: Why you should trust someone who deliberately ignores your wishes is beyond me. Let me tell you what NOT to do. Do not allow your children to stay with your mother under these circumstances. Sometimes Mama does NOT know best, and this is one of them. If you prefer your children not share the same bed, your wishes should be respected.

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend and I live quite far from town and spend a lot of time in the car — usually his. He bought some air fresheners for his car, which made me nauseated and gave me headaches. I asked him to please remove them, but he refused because he doesn’t want to waste the $2.50. He said he likes the smell.

Abby, we have two other vehicles we can take. I felt it was such a small thing he could do to make me feel better. He doesn’t agree. What is your opinion on the matter? — STUNK UP IN FLORIDA

DEAR STUNK: You may be allergic to something in that air freshener, which is why you got the headache and became nauseated. Asking your boyfriend to remove it was a small thing — not like asking him to remove a limb. If he were less self-centered and more considerate, he would have accommodated you.

In my opinion, you should take one of the other cars when you drive together.

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 www.DearAbby.com 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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