DEAR ABBY: I had a close friend from middle school into adulthood. (I’ll call her Lacey.) We were each other’s maids of honor and best friends for years. A few years ago we had a falling out. She was going through a tough time and lashed out at me. When I tried to have a conversation with her to tell her I didn’t like how she was treating me, she told me to “have a nice life.”
Shortly after that, my youngest sister struck up a friendship with her and insisted that my parents invite her for Thanksgiving dinner. I told my mother I wasn’t comfortable with Lacey joining our family dinner, but Mother said it would be rude to not invite her.
I no longer join my family for holiday dinners. Is it wrong of me to not want my family to be so friendly with someone who was unkind to me? It seems odd to me that my former friend would pursue relationships with my sisters and parents, and odder still that my parents and sisters would encourage it. Is there a positive and constructive way to address this situation? — DISCOUNTED AND EXCLUDED IN NEVADA
DEAR DISCOUNTED: It seems odd to me, too, that your parents would continue including Lacey at holiday dinners knowing how uncomfortable it would make you. Of course, you can’t dictate whom your sister(s) can be friendly with, but you should explain to your parents how her inclusion has made you feel, so they’ll understand why you are absent.
When Lacey advised you to “have a nice life,” I hope you took her up on it and have made other friends. I also hope you don’t sit around alone when the holidays roll around. Sometimes the most rewarding and loving experiences and relationships we have are with the “families” we build for ourselves.
DEAR ABBY: I was taught that punctuality is important. My husband and I are almost always at least a few minutes early for everything we do. I realize not everyone can be — or wants to be — early. However, it seems that almost everyone we know is late. Sometimes it’s five minutes, others it’s 20 to 30 minutes. And it’s not just people we know. I was kept waiting for 25 minutes by someone who was buying an item from me.
Why do people think this is OK? I was taught that it’s rude to keep someone waiting for you. What are your thoughts on punctuality?
P.S. I’m not talking about running late once in a while. I’m talking about people who are consistently late everywhere they go. — AMBER IN THE SOUTH
DEAR AMBER: I was raised the same way you were. My parents impressed upon me that it is disrespectful to keep people waiting, and that if a delay is unavoidable, the person who’s expecting me should be informed that I will be late. I’m not implying that someone must make an appearance at the stroke of the hour — a delay of 10 or 15 minutes is understandable. But to keep someone waiting longer than that is rude, disrespectful and bad manners.
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.