Dear Abby: Musician in multiple bands complicates scheduling needs

Dear Abby
Jeanne Philips

Dear Abby: I am in a rock band with some friends. All of us are in our 50s and 60s. We have been playing together for the last three years. Last year, our bass player joined another band (while staying in ours) because another friend was in it, but they broke up because of COVID. Now that music venues are opening up again, he has joined yet another group.

I’m a loyal guy, and it bothers me that he doesn’t seem as loyal to our band. He says he can easily do both, but for me, it causes booking issues because the other band will be blocking out dates that we might be able to book. I see no other conflicts. He even asked if I was interested in joining the other band, too, because he figured that if he can’t be in two places at once, it might as well be both of us. Should we cut our losses and replace him? Loyalty is really important to us.

Jeanne Phillips

Rocking On in Texas

Dear Rocking On: Because you feel that loyalty is paramount and your friend may have scheduling conflicts because of his participation with the other band(s), yes, he should be replaced with a musician you can rely on.

Dear Abby: I have a friend who feels a need to correct the behavior of others by writing letters. There are not too many businesses around town that haven’t received one of her letters and, no doubt, others in her circle of friends have, too.

After a misunderstanding for which I apologized, I received one of them. Because she lacks understanding or the ability to forgive, a vitriolic diatribe came my way. In her letter, she related past “unfortunate (in her opinion) ill behaviors on my part for which I should be ashamed.” Then she ended a friendship we had for many years without trying to mend the relationship. This is very hurtful for me, and I’m sure for others. How does one respond, if at all, to something like this?

Suffering in Michigan

Dear Suffering: One does not respond. One copes by recognizing that the only person this unhappy woman is punishing is herself, as her circle of friends diminishes and businesses around town no longer welcome her.

Dear Abby: My wife recently asked me if she could take off her wedding ring in favor of wearing her mother’s, which is much larger than the one I gave her. I regard it as a lack of respect for our marriage, which has been under a lot of stress for a long time. (No affairs.) I also view it as symbolic of how much she has financially sacrificed being married to me. What do you think?

Wondering in the East

Dear Wondering: I “think” you should tell your wife it would hurt you deeply if she follows through, and why. I also think the time has come for the two of you to talk about what is “stressing” your marriage with a licensed marriage and family therapist.

Dear Abby: My wife and I have been invited to a surprise engagement party honoring a distant relative I’ll call “Elizabeth.” The invitation states, “Shhhh ... This is a surprise! Elizabeth doesn’t know about the impending proposal.”

Is this something new? What if she says no?! Does everyone go home or stay and endure an uncomfortable meal? Should we take a gift? Isn’t this beyond awkward and over the top? What’s next?

— Behind the Times?

Dear B.T.T.: I agree that marriage proposals should be private and intimate, rather than a Hollywood production. (If only because there’s always a risk that the person being proposed to might feel trapped, embarrassed or refuse.) However, you and I should not assume we speak for everyone.

Over the last decade or so, marriage proposals, invitations to senior proms, etc. have taken on a life of their own. And, if it makes people happy — and hurts no one — who are we to judge? As to whether to bring a gift to this event, it might be more prudent to bring one to the bridal shower rather than the surprise engagement party.

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