Abby: Bad news dampens generosity
Dear Abby: My husband’s best friend gave us a very generous gift for our toddler. However, it arrived with the news that the baby he and his girlfriend are expecting may have serious complications, which could result in termination of the pregnancy. Abby, I am also expecting.
I know I should send them a thank-you note, but I don’t want to sound overly cheerful when someone is obviously suffering. Is there a way to appropriately express our thanks in writing while still being sensitive? I want to show my concern without overstepping my boundaries.
Lost for Words
Dear Lost: My advice is to stay on message. Thank the man for his generous gift and say how much it is appreciated. If you wish to express concern for the difficult time they are going through, do so without going into detail. It’s sufficient to say that he and his girlfriend are in your thoughts and prayers. Make no reference to your own pregnancy because, in this communication, it’s not relevant.
Dear Abby: I work with the public and make small talk all day long. At the end of a busy day, I like to go to a neighborhood restaurant by myself for a quiet dinner. My problem is the owner, “Giovanni.” He’s a very nice man, and he’ll sit down at my table to chat, often for the entire meal. To complicate matters, he speaks limited English and conversation with him is a chore.
I can’t think of a polite way to ask that I be left alone without hurting his feelings and making future visits awkward. Any suggestions?
Hungry and Tired
in the East
Dear H and T: A polite way to do it would be to say, “Giovanni, I like you very much. But I have had a hard day. All I want to do is sit down, eat my food and stare into space. Please understand.” Unless he is very new to the hospitality business, he should regard that as his cue to back off.
Dear Abby: What’s the proper response when a woman tells you, “You’re a lucky woman to have such a good husband who loves you so much”? That phrase bothers me because I feel it is a slap in my face — like what am I, chopped liver? Am I not worthy of a wonderful marriage and family? Am I overreacting?
He’s Lucky, Too, in Colorado
Dear He’s Lucky, Too: Yes. The women who acknowledge how lucky you are may be comparing how your husband treats you in public to the way they are treated by their husbands. Instead of being defensive, smile and say, “I agree. We’re lucky to have EACH OTHER.”
Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.