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Health & Spirit

Can't stop judging boyfriend's unladylike daughter

Carolyn Hax on

Months of being noncommittal is how your son says "no."

I'm sorry. It's not his best trait I'm sure, but it's also not just his -- ask anyone who tries to entertain these days how many guests respond late to invitations -- if they even respond at all.

It's enough to kill some friendships but not, I believe, enough to split a family.

So suggest holiday plans to your son, allow him a limited time window to give you an answer, then, if he still refuses to commit by the end of it, proceed with your own plans and just say he's welcome to join you (when feasible). That's the most reasonable of the options he's giving you.

It helps to be as flexible as you can, and as emotionally transparent: "We miss you. We hope you can join us for [holiday]. If not, then maybe a long weekend in February?"

Hi, Carolyn:

I have a friend who has been seeing someone for about a year, and she wants him to meet me. We don't have any mutual friends and so this would almost certainly happen with just the three of us. To make matters worse, they have a somewhat unique situation that I don't really think is great, to the point that she once considered breaking it off and I said I thought she should. It's not the type of situation where she is in any danger, though, and since she chose to stay, I try to be supportive.

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I simply don't want to have a two-on-one coffee session with them. Is there any way I could tell her I'd rather not without hurting her feelings?

-- Squeaky Third Wheel

She's your friend. It's coffee. Just set low expectations and go.

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