I dislike new couples joining our Saturday dinners

Dear Amy: I started two different progressive dinner groups with other couples in our neighborhood.

These dinners happen about three times a year for each group. It has been going on for six years.

I call to coordinate our open Saturdays and let them pick the course they are willing to make (we trade off making the main course).

My pet peeve is that some couples occasionally ask if they can ask another couple that I don’t know to join us (these people don’t live in the area).

This is a walking progressive dinner because we all live close by, and lends itself to safe drinking.

Including an extra couple means this “new couple” would provide a portion of the meal BUT bring it to one of the other couple’s houses instead of offering their own home — because they live out of town.

I always say no with a gentle explanation, but end up in a fight with these women who are my good friends.

This has happened three times now. I caved twice, but the third time I stood my ground and it turned into a frosty eight-month relationship.

If I am the main dish house, I get bent out of shape since I’m feeding strangers and they only bring the salad.

I always get thanked after each dinner for putting this together because it takes persistence and we all have a great time, but how can I convince these women that inviting extra people was not my intention?

— The Fun Neighbor

Dear Fun Neighbor: Methinks that you are not actually that much fun.

You’ve put a tremendous amount of effort into these dinners, but you do seem quite rigid about the parameters. New and visiting couples can add new life into these events — and if participating couples have houseguests on the night of one of these dinners, it seems natural and logical that they would ask if the new people can bring a salad to share and tag along to enjoy these creative dinners.

Regardless of my view of how you are handling this, you have been extremely clear about the limitations you’ve imposed, and, given the tension you’ve all endured over this issue, I think you should assume that you’ve gotten your point across.

Dear Amy: I have a friend who lacks any sort of coping skills.

She can be very kind and generous, but then when a problem arises, she completely falls apart.

If something breaks at her house and she has to spend money, she becomes very dramatic and acts like it’s the end of the world.

She has a good job and I believe she can afford home repairs.

She dates men that are not in a healthy place, so the romance often quickly falls apart.

After this happens, she will be in bed for days, taking part in unhealthy coping mechanisms.

She will not seek help, and nothing cheers her up.

I’ve grown tired of tolerating this, as it has been consistent for many years and occurs almost on a monthly basis.

Other friends say we should stick it out because she has good qualities, but I say enough is enough, she needs to be told how her behaviors affect the friendship, and boundaries need to be set when she decides to act like this, since she won’t respond to our attempts at support.

What do you think?

— Exhausted

Dear Exhausted: If your friend falls apart on a monthly basis, I wonder if she has a hormonal imbalance that can be successfully treated.

This is just a theory, but the main issue is your right and responsibility to respectfully let your friend know how her behavior affects you.

So tell her!

Say, “I really care about you, but your mood swings and extreme reactions are hard on me, because I’m unable to help you when you’re feeling down. I wish you would seek professional help, because this is affecting our friendship.”

Dear Amy: “Upset” wrote to you about a dispute with his neighbor, caused when Upset blasted loud music during workdays.

This was made much worse when the neighbor ranted about this on Facebook.

Thank you for pointing out what a toxic cesspool Facebook is.

— I’m Out

Dear I’m Out: Facebook can be a toxic cesspool, when people use it to spread rumors and rants.

I miss seeing what my FB friends and their children are up to — but my blood pressure tells me that stepping off of this platform was a good choice for me.

(You can email Amy Dickinson at askamy@amydickinson.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *