By Kathy Mitchell
and Marcy Sugar
Dear Annie: I am in an awkward social situation. My 3-year-old daughter and I were invited to join a group of moms and children at a local park. At first, it was great, but now the other mothers have decided they don’t like me.
They don’t say it to my face, and they aren’t obviously rude, but they mostly ignore me when I speak, and if they do respond, their answers are curt. I have tried being extra nice, but I am still treated like an outcast.
My daughter loves playing with the children in this group, and since she doesn’t get a lot of social interaction, I do not want to take these friendships away from her.
I have considered sitting at a different table, but I’m afraid the other mothers will think me rude and will then forbid their children to play with mine or treat my daughter unfairly.
I know if I tell them I feel I’m being treated poorly, they will deny it. I am not the first person they have kicked out of the group. What do I do?
Dear Inept: That crowd sounds like high-school mean girls who never outgrew their cliquishness. We strongly recommend you find a substitute playgroup that gets together at another time or in a different location. Your daughter is young enough to get over the loss of these friendships if you don’t make a big deal out of it, and she will make new friends. Meanwhile, continue to be nice until you can extricate yourself.
Dear Annie: I am in need of wedding etiquette advice. Both my fianc and I are entering the Army after we marry, although we aren’t sure exactly when.
We do not wish to receive gifts because neither of us has storage space, nor can we afford to rent it. When we enter the military, we will be gone for six weeks of basic training and another six months for advanced individual training.
Obviously, we would find it much more practical to receive money. Is there any way to ask our guests for cash instead of gifts?
Could we ask them to send gifts at a later date when we return from training? We considered renewing our vows in a year and getting gifts then. What do you think?
Future Army Bride and Soldier
Dear Future Bride: People are going to get you gifts regardless of what you want them to do. It is impolite to tell guests to give you money, but you can ask your parents and friends to spread the word. To be on the safe side, you also should register at a store where you can return the gifts and get cash or credit. And while we aren’t particularly in favor of them, popular registries also include intangibles, such as honeymoons and house down payments. Regardless of what your guests choose to give, we hope you will show appropriate appreciation in your thank-you note. Congratulations and best wishes.
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