DEAR ABBY: My husband’s best friend of 40 years, “Nick,” started dating a woman about a month ago. Nick has been down on his luck personally and financially for several years. He called and asked if he could bring “Hattie” to our home for dinner. We agreed, hoping it would be a good relationship for him.

Within 15 minutes of meeting her, Hattie told me she was bipolar and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. She has two small children, but when I asked where they were, she changed the subject. Nick doesn’t have kids, and he’s nearly 50.

When Hattie asked me for something to drink, I offered her tea or soda. She took the soda, then said she preferred beer and wine, and did I have any. I poured her a glass, then she asked for a second and proceeded to drink 2½ bottles of wine. Later, she told me she had a “headache” and asked if I had anything for pain. I offered Tylenol. No, she wanted something with a “kick.” Needless to say, they didn’t stay long after that because she was looking for prescription medication, and we had none.

My husband told Nick that Hattie was not the type of woman he needed. Nick shrugged off my husband’s advice of not seeing her anymore. Personally, I don’t want that woman at my house again. If Nick calls and wants to bring Hattie around again, how should we say no? – BEST FRIEND’S WIFE

Don’t say no. Suggest that the four of you go out for dinner and make it a short evening.

DEAR ABBY: When I was in high school I was involved in a car accident that took the lives of two of my friends. I was driving. A deer ran out in front of my car, I swerved to miss it and hit a tree. I was wearing a seatbelt, my friends were not.

The police ruled it an accident. My friends’ parents believed me, but because of the comments and physical attacks from my classmates I dropped out of school at 17. I got my GED and moved on – or so I thought – until two weeks ago, when I received an invitation to my 20-year reunion.

A handwritten note was enclosed from a girl whom I had thought was my best friend back then. (She turned her back on me when the rumors started.) Her note read: “Come. PLEASE come. I want to see you. We all do.”

I don’t know what to do. First of all, I dropped out. Second, there will be people there that I do not ever want to see again. My husband and my parents are pressuring me to go. My husband says it will bring me “closure,” and my parents say I will look guilty if I don’t go. Please help me decide. – REUNION WORRIES

Pick up the phone and call the woman who sent the note. You are not the same person you were 20 years ago, and neither are the classmates who treated you so cruelly. You are now an adult, and you will have your loving husband beside you.

As to “looking guilty” should you choose to stay home – you weren’t guilty when the accident happened and not attending won’t make you seem guilty now. If you attend, do so because you have unfinished business. The choice, of course, is yours, but I think you have more to gain by going than you have to lose.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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