Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Open Thread: Who Needs Quick Advice?


I haven’t gotten a letter recently I feel inspired to dedicate a column to, nor have I read a letter in another advice column I feel like answering in an “In Other Words” post, so… I’d like to invite you to comment below if you have a conundrum or a moral or ethical dilemma or even just a quick etiquette question you wouldn’t normally write in about but for which you would welcome second or third or fourth opinions.

Also, feel free to email me with your questions if you’d prefer to stay anonymous. And if you have an idea for a column/post/list you’d like to see me address, I welcome that as well. I’ve been feeling writer-blocky lately and could use a little push. Oh, and if you have an update to a letter I’ve posted in the past, at please share if you’re up for it. Thank you!

97 comments… add one
  • ktfran October 24, 2016, 9:38 am

    I wish this would have come 10 minutes sooner! So not to hijack the dating thread… the guy proposed Saturday and I, of course, said yes! I’m over the moon happy and there are still a few friends I need to tell.

    Although wedding anxiety was already kicked in. I’m a people pleaser by nature and for the first time in my life, I kind of want to say fuck it and plan something that would make me happy. And that’s a small, intimate wedding. Think immediate family only. But people have already asked about the date. WTF? People in my family and friend circle love weddings and use them as a reason to get together. I know some (maybe many) will be disappointed. So, I guess I’m having trouble with the thought of letting people down vs. planning something I know we both want and that we can afford.

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    • RedRoverRedRover October 24, 2016, 9:45 am

      Oh wow congrats!!!!

      And about the wedding, top priority (in my opinion) is the budget. You don’t want to start out married life in debt, or take longer to buy a place together, or whatever. Start with that, see what you can afford. Then do what you want inside that. Disappointing people comes at the bottom of the list. And if you really don’t want to disappoint people, then think outside of the box. What if you had a morning wedding? Then you could have a classy brunch reception with like a belgian waffle station and mimosas, or you could do lunch with finger sandwiches and champagne. The kind of thing where people mill around rather than have a big sit-down meal. Then you’d get everyone together without breaking your budget, if that’s important to you. But if not, then they’ll just have to be disappointed. It’s your wedding, it’s your marriage, you need to start it off on the right foot by staying on a reasonable budget.

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      • snoopy128 October 24, 2016, 9:55 am

        I’m with RR, disappointing people comes near the bottom of the list. You will be so much less stressed and frustrated if you plan a wedding that both of you are excited to host.

        Honestly…people have their own opinions and will probably be disappointed if you give them room to be. Shut down the negativity with gentle redirections.
        “We want an intimate wedding in order to spend meaningful time with each of our guests”
        “We would love to do smaller group get togethers afterwards to spend quality time with each of our friend circles”
        “Aunt Marg, a family reunion would be so much fun- you should start the email thread to rally people for next year if that’s your dream! ”
        “We are looking into several options right now, I’ll add that one to the list to look into!”

      • ktfran October 24, 2016, 9:57 am

        Oh my god, thank you for the redirect replies! I need to work on coming up with a few of those!!!!

      • Nookie October 24, 2016, 10:05 am

        How about ‘it’s my wedding so shut up’?

        Too direct?

      • ktfran October 24, 2016, 10:08 am

        I might use that on a few people….

    • snoopy128 October 24, 2016, 9:48 am

      I think people just don’t know what to say…so they ask you when the date is. Same thing happened to me when I got engaged. We still took 3 months to actually set a date and haven’t send out save the dates yet (much to my mom’s frustration).
      I’m having fun with wedding planning (for now) mostly because we are focusing on picking things that we like. My default reply when someone says “you should…” is “that sounds nice. We will look into it” or “have you done x,y,z” gets responded with “we are doing things at a comfortable pace so we don’t get overwhelmed or burnt out” (or, “i barely managed to get 6 hours of sleep a night this week, once I recharge, it’s on the list!”). Trust me, after several rounds of non-answers, people get the hint!

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    • Vathena October 24, 2016, 9:50 am

      Congrats, ktfran! Such happy news! Is there any way you could do a small wedding the way you want, and then at some point after that have a bigger, more casual party? Some friends of mine got married at a courthouse and then invited people to a happy hour later that day. Something like a brunch or backyard bbq might work too. Ultimately, though, you have to go with what you want and can afford. A diplomatic script should come in handy – “We’re so excited to be getting married – we’re on a budget, so the ceremony will be very small, but we look forward to celebrating with you soon!”

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    • Juliecatharine October 24, 2016, 9:51 am

      Congratulations!!! I absolutely get where you’re coming from. My wedding is Saturday (eek!) and I will say that while I’m incredibly excited and looking forward to having all the people I care about there to celebrate I’m also struggling a bit because I absolutely did not want a cookie cutter wedding and…I’m pretty much having one (though thankfully intimate). It’s incredibly hard to manage people’s expectations (and your own) while navigating the planning process. My only advice is to take your time and try to visualize what would make you and your fiancรฉ happy. It’s not easy but at the end of the day you’re getting married and that is a joyous thing! โค๏ธ

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      • snoopy128 October 24, 2016, 9:59 am

        Happy Wedding Week! (I know, I know, “you only get one day”….but it’s your week!). Sending you soothing and positive vibes.

      • ktfran October 24, 2016, 10:07 am

        Congratulations! I hope your wedding day is absolutely lovely.

      • Juliecatharine October 24, 2016, 10:15 am

        Thank you ladies!!

      • SpaceySteph October 24, 2016, 11:57 am

        Yay, congrats for you, too!
        I do think that managing your own expectations is even harder than managing others. We just had the LW last week who is already panicking over her wedding a year from now and her SIL upstaging her because its her ONE DAY and she needs the vibe to be right.
        Pretty sure that all the external expectations in the world do not compare to the pressure we put on ourselves to have a perfect, happy, photo-worthy wedding as a way to make up for all the imperfect in our lives. Fat doesn’t disappear just because its your wedding. Neither does weather or traffic jams or family feuds. Expecting it to melt away for one perfect day and then blaming yourself if you can’t pull it off… that’s when you’re sure to be disappointed.

      • ktfran October 24, 2016, 12:10 pm

        Oh believe me, I don’t want my “one perfect day.” I want a fun day that I will look back on and smile. There will be no favors. Or centerpieces. Or band. Or DJ. Or massive amounts of flowers. I really am only worried about what people expect vs. what I want and how to respond. Everyone has given great advice. And words of encouragement on doing what would make me happy.

        I’m not necessarily a no person. I need to do better.

      • RedRoverRedRover October 24, 2016, 1:29 pm

        Just remember, what they “expect” is their problem to solve, not yours. People can expect whatever they want, but you don’t need to go out of your way to give it to them. Unless you want to of course, and then go for it.

        Plus it’s just a wedding. People might go “huh” when you tell them what you’re doing, but they’ll get over it. Nothing you do or don’t do will be the end of the world for any of them.

    • Nookie October 24, 2016, 9:51 am

      !!!! Congrats @KTFRAN and to her fiance! That’s so fantastic, you seem so happy and this is so great!

      @RedRover’s right about the budget, I always think small intimate weddings are awesome and if that’s what you want – HAVE IT. Could you have a big backyard party as a reception and invite all those people, make it a big party?

      Or is that just the same thing, by another name? I have no idea.

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    • Samba October 24, 2016, 9:53 am

      Ahh congrats KT!!! That’s awesome!!! ๐Ÿ˜€

      I had a lot of anxiety/second thoughts (about how we were doing the wedding, not the getting married part lol) throughout planning, and on those days you sometimes just want to crawl in a hole and forget about it all, but I promise whatever you end up doing – as long as it’s something you can picture being happy with – you will be thrilled and relieved and the day will be great!

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      • ktfran October 24, 2016, 10:06 am

        Thanks everyone!!! I am so unbelievably happy. And you’re all right. One day at a time. Have a few canned responses ready. In the end, I think people will be happy for us.

        We plan to buy a condo in April because our leases are up around then. Mine in April, his in May. Heck, if we were already living together, I’d run away and get married right now. I’m totally ready.

        I’ll relax and just enjoy! My sister and a couple friends want to take me out to celebrate this week. Oh my gosh, I’m so happy! You all, or most of you know, I was engaged once before and I called it off. This time around, it feels so much more right.

      • Nookie October 24, 2016, 10:13 am

        Bah, you’re going to make me teary at my desk. Enjoy everyone celebrating your happiness, but I’d sow the seeds early that you’re thinking about a small intimate ceremony. You know, just in passing..

    • Dear Wendy October 24, 2016, 10:15 am


      You could do something similar to what Drew and I did, which was to have a small ceremony (ours was in Central Park where there were legal limits on the guest list) and reception with a bigger party to follow (we had a party the night of our wedding day where we invited maybe 60% more guests than we had at the wedding itself).

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      • ktfran October 24, 2016, 10:24 am

        I’m using you as part of my inspiration! Our hope is to buy a top floor condo with private roof. Perhaps an extremely small wedding and lunch with immediate family and then invite people over in the evening to celebrate. We could have beer, wine, pizzas from Piece, etc.

        I like the morning wedding/brunch option too. We could still have a party that night.

        The simpler the better. I really just want to have a fun day.

      • Nookie October 24, 2016, 10:38 am

        That sounds awesome, I wish I could come to a cool roof party! I’m sure all your friends would be happy with that!

      • Lianne October 24, 2016, 10:49 am

        Love these ideas! I would have liked to have had a backyard wedding/house party or brunch, too. But Mexico won out ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Northern Star October 24, 2016, 10:23 am

      Congratulations! Everyone has great advice. Maybe you could plan a small, intimate ceremony for immediate family only, followed by an open house at your new place (cost would be drinks and snacks)? That way, your wedding is the way you want, but your friends get to celebrate with you, too.

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      • ktfran October 24, 2016, 10:24 am

        Haha! Jinx!

    • keyblade October 24, 2016, 10:44 am

      congratulations on your engagement, ktfran!

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    • Lianne October 24, 2016, 10:45 am

      WOO HOO! Congrats ktfran!! That’s so exciting. I love that we were all along on this journey with you. I remember how hard it was to let your guard down with the guy and I am so pleased that you were able to let go and enjoy the relationship, which included working through issues in a mature manner. What a great example of what a healthy relationship looks like ๐Ÿ™‚

      WRT the actual wedding, take my advice. Do what you want. We wanted to get married in Mexico, and wanted a smaller wedding, so two birds, one stone. It was EXACTLY what we wanted and still have those that came talk about what a fun weekend it was. This allowed us to still invite everyone, knowing those that truly wanted to share in the day with us would make the trip – not those just looking for a party/reunion.

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      • ktfran October 24, 2016, 11:47 am

        Ann, thanks Lianne! You all helped me so much overcome some of my hang up, which helped allow this relationship to flourish. You have no idea!

        My best friend held a destination wedding in Jamaica. It was a blast!

    • SpaceySteph October 24, 2016, 10:52 am

      I think people ask about the date because they’re trying to make conversation/share in the excitement. But I, too, got pretty annoyed because after getting engaged it took us over a month to find a venue and thereby nail down the date.

      The key for me was to embrace this truth: Someone will be disappointed no matter what you do. Order the fish and people will want chicken. Get chocolate cake and someone will want vanilla. Pick yellow for your bridesmaids dress and someone will hate yellow. Etc.

      You truly cannot please everyone, and accepting that will allow you to let people’s disappointment go and do what makes you (and a select group of people who you decide to prioritize their opinions, if any) happy instead.

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    • K October 24, 2016, 11:00 am


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    • veritek33 October 24, 2016, 11:07 am

      This made my morning. So happy for you @ktfran! I hope you go with the wedding you truly want and I’m so excited for you ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Firestar October 24, 2016, 12:50 pm


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    • Addie Pray October 24, 2016, 1:21 pm

      Congrats, Kt! Tell us, tell us your engagement story and don’t leave out any detail. Any details. (By repeating myself, you’ll tell us, right? Right.)
      Also, if you need a super cute ring bearer, lemme know. … Can’t guarantee he won’t eat the rings, though.

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      • ktfran October 24, 2016, 1:33 pm

        I’ll do it here…

        So, we had an event at MSI on Saturday. Last week, I was asking on you lovely ladies for shoe advice. I ended up wearing different shoes than the velvet ones, fyi. Anyway. Earlier that day, I got my nails done and bought a new pair of earrings. I met the guy at his place around 5:15. Upon walking in his door, he gave me a hug and said he had something he wanted me to wear with my dress tonight. On the table was the earrings. And a bottle of champagne. He asked me to marry him. I said of course. It was a total surprise! And I didn’t need to buy those other earrings! Somebody will be getting those as a gift.

        We were in Napa two weeks ago. I thought he might propose then. When he didn’t, I figured it might be a few more months. Tricky, tricky!

      • Addie Pray October 24, 2016, 1:43 pm

        That’s sweet! So, had you talked about the earrings-instead-of-ring thing? Also, did you cry? Did he cry? Who did you call first? Was there a speech leading up to the “Will you marry me?” Does he like pizza?

      • Addie Pray October 24, 2016, 1:43 pm

        (I dunno I ran out of questions.)

      • ktfran October 24, 2016, 1:50 pm

        He knew I wanted earrings over a ring. So we’re good there. No crying. Either parties. He should have though! Kidding. Sort of. I called my mom first. She didn’t answer. Annoying! Then my two sisters. Then my mom finally answered. She was at church. She NEVER goes to church. The littlest niece asked why I would get married. She’s a weirdo. She also told me when she first met him that he’s too polite. No speech. Lots of kissing. GROSS! He does like pizza. And Italian. Lots of our first dates happened at Italian joints.

      • SpaceySteph October 24, 2016, 1:56 pm

        My husband didn’t cry when he proposed. Or at our wedding. Or when I told him I was pregnant. All fine, until the other night when the Cubs won the NLCS and then he cried. So I know where I stand.

      • Addie Pray October 24, 2016, 2:01 pm

        Haha, that made me lol. Baseball is so boring. If I were in charge, I’d make the ball bigger and neon pink, so I can see it better. And I’d make the pitcher slow down so more people can hit. Otherwise, it’s just like one strike out after another or a bunch of foul balls or it just, like, goes up and then falls right in a mitt, so effortlessly, seemingly. Zzzzzz. I’d NOT make it last so long. I have other tweaks.

      • Addie Pray October 24, 2016, 2:05 pm

        Wait, wait, slow down. I am having a hard time visualizing. So go up to his door and go “knock knock.” Or probably more like “buzz buzz”? Or maybe it’s a doorman building so the doorman just lets you up. Oh and then when you get to his unit the knock knock happens? Or maybe the door was already ajar for you? Or maybe he was waiting for you in the hall? And then he pulls you in and gives champagne and says “Will you marry me?” How long until the “oh, hi there, come on in” to the “Will you marry me?” Also, who did he call first? Does he like to dip his pizza in ranch dressing? Because I do.

      • ktfran October 24, 2016, 3:02 pm

        Doorman building. So… door was ajar when I got there. He kind of steered me away from the living room and turned me around when he was ready to ask. It happened as soon as I was able to put down my things.

        He didn’t call any of it. But texted a friend. And his mom new he was doing it.

        Nope to ranch dressing. On salad or pizza come to think of it. Hmm…. interesting.

      • Addie Pray October 24, 2016, 3:49 pm

        Thank you for indulging me. I am living vicariously through you (and avoiding work)!! Congratulations, again.

      • ktfran October 24, 2016, 4:00 pm

        I’ve avoided work nearly the entire day! Tomorrow is going to suck.

    • Mango October 24, 2016, 1:50 pm

      I had ten people at my wedding. If that’s what you both want, I say go for it. I’m usually a people pleaser too, but this was one time I knew I had to stand my ground. It’s been three years and I think my husband’s extended family is still a little irritated they weren’t invited. But I feel like they all had or will have their own weddings. They get to do whatever they want for their own wedding, so I get to do whatever I want for mine. As long as you and your fiancรฉ agree, do what means the most to you.

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    • Ella_ October 24, 2016, 1:50 pm

      Congrats! That’s very exciting. I think the idea of a small ceremony and celebration and then a larger get-together later is a great idea.
      I’m not engaged (yet?) but I think I am falling more and more into the elopement/small ceremony camp. My brother and sister are both married and have large, traditional weddings and it just isn’t for me. My family and friends live very far away from where I currently live (and where my boyfriend’s family lives) so it would be hard to get everyone together. I’ve expressed this, sort of as a warning, to my family but I know they’d be hurt if they weren’t there, so I’ll have to figure that out when the time comes too.

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    • Abbytoo October 24, 2016, 1:57 pm

      Yay! Congratulations! Wishing you and the guy so much happiness.

      My only advice is to actually take your sweet time doing any planning, and just enjoy this new phase for a while. When people ask about the date, you can just say that you are taking the time to revel in this new status for a bit.

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    • kmtthat October 24, 2016, 2:52 pm

      Sooooo happy for you two ktfran!!! We need to do a meetup to celebrate!!!

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      • ktfran October 25, 2016, 8:40 am

        YES! I also need to meet APs soon. And see everyone and catch up.

    • Ange October 24, 2016, 8:02 pm

      Congratulations! You do you mate, everyone else can just deal. We had a small wedding that didn’t include most of our extended families and everyone lived.

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    • mcj2012 October 25, 2016, 9:52 am

      Late to the party! Congratulations Ktfran! Many blessing to you and the guy!

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  • Betsy October 24, 2016, 11:29 am

    I read a lot, but hardly ever have time to comment – my situation is not nearly as much fun as wedding talk, though! I’ve been married for 6 years and have an almost 2 year old daughter conceived via IVF. After much talk, DH and I decided to try a cycle for a sibling this summer and I’m pregnant and due in April with a girl. I should be over-the-moon excited, but the same day in August that we found out our cycle was successful, we found out that my husband has Ulcerative Colitis. He has not responded at all to treatment, so his GI is setting up a consult with a somewhat local big University to see what they recommend – possibly removing his colon. Had we known all this would happen, we certainly would not have tried for a second baby. I feel like I have way more than I can possibly deal with taking care of a toddler and him, I cannot imagine adding a newborn to the mix. I also don’t know how to manage the guilt about not being excited about this baby girl whom we went to such extremes to conceive. Our family is all out of town – they visit occasionally, but sometimes that’s more stressful than helpful. I know it could be a much worse diagnoses, but it still feels completely overwhelming. Maybe I need a hug more than advice?

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    • Juliecatharine October 24, 2016, 11:41 am

      *Hugs*. That sounds very overwhelming, I’m sorry that what should be a stressful-yet-exciting time is turning out to be straight up stressful. Fingers crossed for your husband finding successful treatment. The only advice I can give is that if you can afford to, outsource some things so you can free up a little time and energy and just get some stuff off your plate. *More hugs*

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    • RedRoverRedRover October 24, 2016, 11:45 am

      That’s really hard, I’m sorry to hear it. Here’s more *hugs*. Don’t feel guilty about being overwhelmed and not as excited. It makes perfect sense that the excitement is being overshadowed by this diagnosis. Just because you’re not excited doesn’t mean you won’t love the baby when she comes. Let yourself feel what you feel, and do what you need to do to get through this.

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    • ktfran October 24, 2016, 11:52 am

      More hugs! Juliecatherine and RR are right. Try to outsource what you can to help some of the burden, or if people offer help, take them up on it. Seriously. If someone asks what they can do… ask them to bring by a meal. Or watch your daughter for a couple of hours. Or help with yardwork. Whatever.

      And RR is totally right on the feelings part.

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    • Dear Wendy October 24, 2016, 12:31 pm

      Oof, that’s hard, and I’m sorry you don’t feel like you can be excited about your baby. I don’t have a lot of advice except what people have already suggested โ€” outsourcing whatever you feel comfortable/ can afford to outsource. I do have some anecdotal experience i can share that might make you fee a little better. My situation wasn’t/isn’t the same exactly but after Joanie was born, two things happened that made me think having a second baby when we did would make life too stressful and overwhelming. One was a relatively short-term issue โ€” the illness and quick death of Drew’s father. There’s been the grieving and settling of the estate that came afterward, but that’s all been manageable, and we are grateful Joanie, a newborn at the time of her grandfather’s death, was around to alleviate the sadness and bring some joy to the family. The other issue that cropped up around the same time is much longer-term, and without going into too much detail, we’ve had a lot of parenting challenges/ dealing with and accepting that there are some special needs at play/ and advocating โ€” almost full-time โ€” for the support we’re qualified for and entitled to. There have been many moments when I’ve wondered if I would be better at this role if I only had one child (or if I committed my life 100% to dealing with this one issue, instead of, say, running this site or… having a life), but always, ALWAYS, I take one look at Joanie and I am reminded what a goddamn gift she she is, how incredibly lucky I am to get to be her mom, and what an enormous amount of love and joy she’s brought to our family. When I have questioned my parenting skills the most, she’s helped me see that I’m good at what I do. She’s brought a lot of balance to our lives. She made Jackson a big brother, a role I think he was born for, and has given him another anchor in his life, providing stability and friendship and love. I don’t doubt that having her was one of the best things to ever happen to us, but if I did, I’d only have to look at what a wonderful sibling relationship my kids have to know that having a second child, while creating some extra challenges when I didn’t think I could handle any more, was absolutely a blessing and the right thing for us. I wouldn’t do it any differently if I could do it all over again.

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    • SpaceySteph October 24, 2016, 1:35 pm

      Betsy, this is really tough. Plus you’ve got the physical and emotional symptoms of pregnancy to deal with, too. You definitely don’t have to feel guilty for being overwhelmed.
      You’ve got 6 more months of this pregnancy and that’s enough time to get a better handle on your husband’s condition– right now you’re reeling from the diagnosis and the uncertainty. It’s ok to feel overwhelmed, but don’t jump to conclusions about how much of an impact its going to be before getting all the info.
      And I’m offering an e-hug if you’d like one!

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      • Betsy October 24, 2016, 3:25 pm

        Thank you all for the support. I hope things will be more manageable by the time the baby comes and I’m sure once she’s here I won’t be able to imagine life without her. I just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other in regard to everything else and somehow keep going. Halloween candy helps a little, too.

        Wendy – parenting challenges are always tough, but it seems like advocating for your child’s needs at school ends up being one roadblock after another. I hope that you are met with cooperation and support and that things settle down for you as well.

      • Dear Wendy October 24, 2016, 4:30 pm

        Thank you.

        And i’m sorry about your husband’s diagnosis. Wishing you all some positive news with the upcoming consultation.

  • rosie posie October 24, 2016, 11:42 am

    Congrats Ktfran!

    This reminded me of something that I could use some advice on when the time comes. My significant other and I are now in the process of planning our life together and he will probably propose by the end of the year. My dearest friend has been going through a rough time for the last year and a half and I have been trying to give her space while being supportive. She missed an event I had been planning for over a year (didn’t even rsvp when she received the invitation) and most recently I heard from her about 2 months ago to wish me a happy birthday and say we should get together (but no follow up). It hurts my heart and of course I don’t want to believe she’s ghosting on our friendship. I would continue to wait it out and see what she chooses to do but what do I do when we get engaged? I don’t want to offend her by not telling her if she really has the best of intentions but I also don’t want to make either one of us feel awkward by calling or sending her a text if she’s trying to fade out. Any advice from the wise and wonderful here at DW?

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    • RedRoverRedRover October 24, 2016, 11:49 am

      If you’re still open to keeping the friendship, I’d say tell her and leave the ball in her court. It’ll be awkward later if she does come back and you’re like “I got married”, you know? But then it opens the question of whether to invite her to the wedding. If she doesn’t respond, that’s easy. If she just says Congrats and nothing else really, then it’s your call.

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    • dinoceros October 24, 2016, 11:54 am

      I agree with RedRover. Not telling her you’re getting married would be very likely to end the friendship. She can either decline or not respond if she doesn’t want to go.

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    • SpaceySteph October 24, 2016, 12:12 pm

      Agree with the others. Nothing says “friendship over” like finding out someone is engaged through facebook (or not even finding out they were engaged until the wedding pics hit the internet). So yeah, if you want to keep the friendship, text her. If she’s fading out, she can keep doing that after you text her.

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    • rosie posie October 24, 2016, 12:41 pm

      Thank you, RedRover,dinoceros &SpaceySteph! This makes me feel better. I was leaning towards telling her and you guys are right,it keeps the friendship open and the ball in her court. I guess I will deal with the question of inviting her when that time comes and her reaction to the engagement news will help me make the right decision.

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      • Vathena October 24, 2016, 2:48 pm

        I agree with the others too – I know you’re trying to give her space, but is it possible that she might think that you are the one ghosting? Maybe a text/email every couple of weeks just to check in, even if she doesn’t respond, will let her know you’re still there. Sometimes I send random texts to friends or family members when a song comes on the radio that reminds me of them, or send a picture of something silly or unusual that I thought they’d like. Of course, YMMV and you know best whether that would be interpreted as pestering!

      • rosie posie October 24, 2016, 3:20 pm

        Vathena I know what you are saying. I did call or text her every 2-3 weeks for about 8 months. After that I just felt like I may be bothering her. Anytime I call her she answers or calls right back but is always busy so the conversations are short. A text she will respond to anywhere from 2 hours to 3 days later. Hence my pulling back a bit after so many months.

  • dinoceros October 24, 2016, 11:52 am

    I was actually thinking about post in the forums about one of these. Anyway, two questions.

    1. My friend is throwing herself a birthday dinner at a fancy restaurant. Ideally, we would all split her check among ours, but I don’t know most of these people (only one, and not super well), so I can’t really ask them ahead of time. If for some reason, they ask us about the bills and no one says anything, what should I do? Usually, I just offer to pay and then sometimes other people will chime in about splitting it.

    2. Also, I am on the hiring committee for a job in my department. My co-worker (same job as me) has applied for it, and it would be somewhat of a promotion. Unfortunately, she’s someone that I think should have been let go already because she’s not very good at her job, she takes off too much time for vacation, and doesn’t carry her weight in the office. Obviously, some of my complaints about her are more relevant to the job than others. Our boss won’t comment on her because she thinks it’s a conflict of interest, and most of the other people work in entirely different departments, so she looks really good on paper to them. How much should I disclose about her performance?

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    • SpaceySteph October 24, 2016, 12:27 pm

      For #1: Is your concern that this one will be out of your budget? If not, I’d just go ahead and plan to either throw in $ for the bday girl if someone takes up a collection or offer to pay for her if nobody else speaks up. If it’s gonna be really fancy, expensive, then I’d say plan to bring what you can comfortably throw down ($5, $10, whatever it is) if there’s a collection and otherwise, you’re under no obligation to buy the bday girl’s whole meal, especially at a fancy restaurant and a party she threw for herself.

      For #2, you might try getting Ask A Manager’s opinion. It seems weird to me that your boss thinks telling people about her employee’s performance is somehow a conflict of interest. I don’t get that at all. I think you should be careful not to trash her/sound petty for the good of your own reputation, but if you have 1 or 2 examples of specific behaviors/incidents you’ve witnessed that are directly bad for the job, you should share those.
      Also, I think that how much vacation she takes is really between her and her manager. What if its intermittent medical leave for a chronic illness? What if she took a lower salary in exchange for more vacation hours or else a reduced work week? If it impacts your work, tell your boss that you have trouble getting X, Y, Z done on time due to coworker’s outages, but otherwise it’s not your business why or when she’s out. Bringing that up to the panel (which I’m assuming includes people senior to you in the organization) is not likely to reflect well on you.

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      • dinoceros October 24, 2016, 1:59 pm

        Thanks! Yeah, my issue is that I’d be cool with paying for the whole thing if we were at a different restaurant, but I don’t really want to offer to buy her whole meal *and* actually have to do it if it’s going to be like $50. But a collection would work well.

        That’s a good idea about Ask a Manager. Yeah, I would never bring it up to the committee about her vacation days. It does turn out that they were not approved. Basically, she got approval to take several weeks off for an overseas vacation, but had taken off every Friday in the summer without telling our boss. By the time our boss found out that she had already used up most of her vacation days, it was too late. Our boss doesn’t track our days, and assumes that we will be honest about them, so she’s never really had to deal with someone who actually abused them before.

      • SpaceySteph October 24, 2016, 3:34 pm

        Then this is doubly terrible that your boss won’t either fire her or at least speak up about why she doesn’t deserve a promotion. That would annoy me… although I still don’t think it would benefit you to tell the committee that.

      • dinoceros October 24, 2016, 8:01 pm

        Yeah. ๐Ÿ™ We’re on year contracts, so she could have easily just not been renewed.

    • Lianne October 24, 2016, 12:56 pm

      Re #1, I used to be in the camp that the birthday girl/boy NEVER pays on his or her birthday. However, recently a friend invited us all out to dinner on her birthday to a very expensive restaurant that she wouldn’t normally go to due to budget. Then it was just assumed all the others would pay for her. It kind of rubbed me the wrong way since she picked a very expensive place and assumed others would pay for her. Since then I think that if the birthday person “throws themselves a birthday dinner” that should either indicate he/she is paying for his/herself OR paying for everyone. If someone else says, “hey! we’re taking Jill out to dinner for her birthday…” then it’s very clear it’s a joint expenditure. JMO ๐Ÿ™‚ Of course, in the instance where Jill throws herself a dinner, if a guest decides he/she would like to contribute, that’s perfectly acceptable.

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      • dinoceros October 24, 2016, 2:01 pm

        Eek, yeah, it’s a whole different vibe when the person expects it. It’s a nice gesture for people to pay, but nobody should go into it assuming that!

      • Lianne October 24, 2016, 2:10 pm

        I mean I don’t know for sure if she expected it…but it was sort of awkward when the bill came. Like, if that had been me, I would have set expectations up front: “Hey friends. For my birthday, I really want to go to “Expensive Restaurant” since I’ve never been. I’d love for you to join me and celebrate. However, since it’s so expensive, I want your company only, so please don’t expect to pay for my meal.” Or something like that. That way there is no ambiguity, ya know?

      • dinoceros October 24, 2016, 2:42 pm

        Yeah, definitely. I would feel self-conscious about choosing a fancy restaurant, so if I did, I’d definitely want everyone to know that I wasn’t picking it just because I thought I wouldn’t have to pay for it!

        This friend took me to dinner for my birthday (my other plans got delayed by a day, so I was otherwise doing nothing!), so I definitely want to chip in for her whether she expects it or not!

    • rosie posie October 24, 2016, 1:04 pm

      I think SpaceySteph hit the nail on the head with both answers.

      #1. I know if I were one of the people invited I would plan on paying for my own meal and contributing towards the birthday girl. Perhaps if you have a moment to sidebar with someone at the dinner you could play dumb and say “I planned on paying for my meal and putting some money in towards the birthday girl’s meal. Do you know if that’s what other people are planning as well?”

      #2. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to want to bring attention to things that may inhibit your co-worker from doing the new job effectively. Perhaps you can point out areas where she excels but also point out deficiencies she has that would be important in her new role. This way your view is more objective and balanced.

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      • dinoceros October 24, 2016, 2:01 pm

        Those are both really good! It sounds like you have a knack for making slightly awkward conversations go much smoother.

      • rosie posie October 24, 2016, 3:26 pm

        Thanks. I have always been shy so awkward situations are pretty routine for me.

  • ktfran October 24, 2016, 12:16 pm

    dino – Question 1: I do this with a lot of my friends. Sometimes, we don’t know everyone. I think you can casually ask if everyone wants to split the bill, leaving out the birthday girl. People are usually pretty receptive. Nobody has ever caused a stink. Of ask if anyone wants to chip in for the birthday girl.

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    • dinoceros October 24, 2016, 2:03 pm

      Those are both good ideas. It used to be easier when I lived in a city where they refused to split bills for big parties, but here, they give everyone a separate check, so you have to be on your toes. Asking if folks want to chip in is a good plan!

      Also, congrats! ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • SpaceySteph October 24, 2016, 4:15 pm

        I travel for work frequently to a city that doesn’t split checks and its the worst. Here you are with a big table of coworkers and one check comes and someone ordered 3 beers and someone else ordered just an appetizer and someone’s salary is 20k more than someone else’s and someone is on per diem but someone else is on actuals and nobody has cash and of course someone wants to split it evenly 8 ways and it becomes a big fuss.

      • dinoceros October 24, 2016, 8:03 pm

        Ugh. That sounds awful. I remember being in a group of like 12 for a beer garden night where everyone arrived at a different time (so some people ate, some didn’t, some drank a lot, some drank a little, etc.). My friend was sitting there counting and re-counting hundreds of dollars. Crazy.

  • Anon from LA October 24, 2016, 12:31 pm

    I could use some quick advice. I was invited to a baby shower this weekend, and I missed it because I mistakenly thought the event was on Sunday. It was actually on Saturday (the invitation clearly said so), but I just had the date wrong in my head.

    As soon as I realized I missed it, I sent emails to the mother-to-be and the shower host to apologize profusely. The emails said something along the lines of: “I’m so sorry I missed the shower. I had the date wrong on my calendar. I was really looking forward to it because I wanted to celebrate with you, etc.”

    As for the shower gift, I’m already covered for that. I deposited some $$ in the couple’s online baby fund in lieu of a gift. So she’s already received her gift.

    I haven’t heard back yet from the host or the mom-to-be. The host of the shower is my husband’s aunt, and the mom-to-be is her sister. I see both women socially a five or six times a year and sometimes spend holidays with them since they are the only family we have in LA. I really like both of them a lot, and I feel terribly guilty that I missed out on the shower. I was actually, truly looking forward to it. Is there anything else I can/should do?

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    • Anon from LA October 24, 2016, 12:50 pm

      Good news! The mom-to-be emailed me back and doesn’t sound upset at all! So maybe this problem resolved itself? I hope?

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      • dinoceros October 24, 2016, 2:04 pm

        If it were me, I wouldn’t be upset. It’s easy to forget or mix things up and miss something!

    • rosie posie October 24, 2016, 1:06 pm

      That’s excellent Anon from LA. I’m sure she understood.

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    • ktfran October 24, 2016, 1:34 pm

      I think you’re in the clear. Mistakes happen! She responded. You’re good.

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    • Northern Star October 24, 2016, 2:26 pm

      You’re already good, but if you have some lingering guiltโ€”you could always ask to take the guest of honor out for lunch or something. That would be going above and beyond, but it would be a nice gesture.

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      • RedRoverRedRover October 24, 2016, 2:30 pm

        Or make a point to go by after the baby’s born and bring something special. Nothing big, I’m thinking baby-themed cookies or something like that. Or if you want to help out, a casserole or similar that they could heat up and have a few meals from.

      • Anon from LA October 24, 2016, 3:20 pm

        This is a great idea! Maybe I’ll drop off a cute onesy and a casserole for freezing when the baby is born. Even though I think things are okay between us, it would be a nice way to support the new mom and dad.

  • snoopy128 October 24, 2016, 1:54 pm

    Ugh, sorry to drag on the wedding theme here….but I have a question regarding guest lists and old friends.

    There’s a group of 8 of us that are good friends from high school. Every Christmas we do a Christmas brunch when we are all back in in the city we grew up in. On top of that, I keep in contact with 4 of the girls regularly despite being in a different cities than all of them (two of which I’m asking to be my bridesmaids). But….I hardly ever talk to the other 4 beyond the occasional group when when I will be in their city (which hardly ever ends up in meeting up with those 4) and Christmas brunch planning. My wedding will be the first of that group of 8 girls and I’m torn whether to invite the 4 girls with whom I rarely speak or see. However, I feel like not inviting them is essentially the last nail in the coffin of that friendship (which I’m fine with), but would potentially cause drama and upset the group dynamic (since the 4 I don’t really talk to are still very close friends with some of the 4 I would be inviting).
    What would you do if you were me?
    I’m leaning towards inviting them because logistically, there is space at the venue for them (and the SO’s), and we do have some good memories together and would have fun on the dance floor, and they live in the city I’m holding my wedding. But there’s a part of me that is reluctant because we aren’t that close and they can be a bit catty and cliquey (and therefore may just stick to themselves rather than mingle at the wedding).

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    • Northern Star October 24, 2016, 2:22 pm

      Sounds like you’ve already listed three reasons to invite the whole group and one little issue that’s making you pause.

      I don’t think it would be a problem if the girls don’t mingle at the wedding. Unless you think they’re going to cause a scene or insult other guests, four people choosing to stick to themselves isn’t an issue that would harm the vibe of a wedding. As the bride, you won’t notice either wayโ€ฆ

      But if you simply don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars to have four girls you don’t feel close to at your wedding, that’s a very fair reason to leave them off the guest list. Cite budget constraints. DEFINITELY don’t say you had the room and chose not to include them. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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    • RedRoverRedRover October 24, 2016, 2:28 pm

      Eh, if they fit in, I’d probably invite them. You don’t mention money as a concern so I’m assuming that’s not what’s stopping you. If that’s true, then you might as well invite them so you don’t upset the apple cart with the other 4. It’s not worth it if it leads to drama, in my opinion. So what if they’re catty and cliquey at your wedding? Put them all at the same table and let them hang out with themselves, no one else will care.

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      • SLS October 24, 2016, 2:52 pm

        I was just typing the same response!

        I had a group like this at my wedding… Until they skipped out early ( I note this because two were my bridesmaids) I didn’t even realize that they weren’t mingling with others. Honestly, that was their decision!

        I have also been those people at wedding? Well.. typically I hit the dance floor no less but I have felt this way when I only know a handful of people at a wedding. I have still had fun! Often times the bride/groom are immersed with their immediate friends and I just scoot around with the people I do know! It’s just nice to be included and be there celebrating ๐Ÿ™‚

    • dinoceros October 24, 2016, 2:45 pm

      I agree with the others. Unless money is a concern, since it seems easy to invite them, might as well. It might mean that your other four friends have an even better time. As someone who doesn’t mingle at weddings very well, try not to hold that against them!

      But if you feel like money-wise, it’s a lot for people who you don’t even feel the need to have there, don’t feel obligated to invite them. It’ll all work out in the end.

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    • ktfran October 24, 2016, 3:21 pm

      I agree with everyone else. If you’re not worried about money, it won’t really hurt much and it will keep the peace.

      BUT, if you don’t want to invite them, I say don’t. Of course, it might mess up your yearly get togethers, but that says more about them than you. And those may eventually die down anyway as people start families, etc.

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    • snoopy128 October 25, 2016, 9:01 am

      Thanks ladies!

      The budget has room for them and their dates. Barring a drastic change, I will invite them.
      It’s nice to know others are thinking along the same lines as me ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • Countryangel998 August 17, 2017, 8:30 pm

    I have a little problem and I really need help with. I’m an 18 year about to turn 19 in three months. I have been dating this guy for almost two months and we both agree that it’s time to tell my parents about him. The guy that I am with is 25 turning 26 in the same month as my birthday. I still currently live with my parents and they’ve said that I can’t date men in their mid 20’s until I’m in my 20s. How do I tell them that I’m already dating a 25 year old(that my mom doesn’t care for..) I mean I’m 18, but yet I still I’ve under their roof… I NEED help

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