Dear Abby: Friend’s controlling ways are spoiling my social events

High-maintenance woman meddles in the guest list, then gets upset if a seat isn’t saved for her.

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DEAR ABBY: When I am planning an event or making reservations, I have a friend who always wants to know who is being invited. She also wants to dictate how many guests I should invite. If she arrives late, she gets upset if I haven’t saved her a seat next to me. She’s very high maintenance.

We have been friends for many years, and I don’t want to lose that, but she’s getting on my last nerve. She makes any event that I plan nerve-wracking. I have tried talking to her about it, but her response is that she’s sorry I don’t understand her! Please help. — MISERABLE PARTY PLANNER

DEAR PLANNER: You may want to maintain the relationship, but don’t you think it’s time you drew a firm line with this nervy, pushy woman? It doesn’t take a genius to “understand” her. She is controlling and insecure, and you have allowed it.

The next time you plan a party, leave her off the guest list. You can be sure word will get back to her, and when it does, she will ask you why. When it happens, be prepared to calmly tell her exactly what you have written to me. You say you are down to your “last nerve.” Believe me, telling her calmly is better than erupting.

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I met our neighbor “Maggie” one day while she was walking her dog. She has since befriended me via additional meetings on the street and walks about once a week. She’s 68, has been looking unsuccessfully for a job for three years and has financial difficulties. I have given advice to her on job searches.

I have noticed that she has taken pictures with me in them and pictures of the front of our house. I recently came home late, and she seemed to be lurking near the front of our house. She has asked about our alarm system and when we will be out of town. It is starting to freak me out. How do I unload this person and determine whether she is just troubled or dangerous? — CREEPED OUT IN THE EAST

DEAR CREEPED OUT: Start being less available for those walks. Vary your schedule so she won’t run into you as often. Use your alarm system religiously and install cameras in your home. In light of the crime situation in many communities, this is prudent, regardless of your concern about this neighbor, who may be harmless but whose behavior seems odd.

DEAR ABBY: I’ve been with a couple of different women and every time I take off my clothes, I get laughed at and told to get dressed. Why is that? — IT’S A MYSTERY IN INDIANA

DEAR MYSTERY: You shouldn’t be taking your clothes off with anyone unless you are absolutely sure that seeing more of you is welcome. That someone would laugh at you is insensitive and unkind. These are not the type of women you should be pursuing. Better luck next time.

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.

To order “How to Write Letters for All Occasions,” send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby — Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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