DEAR ABBY: I recently declined a wedding invitation because my spouse and I will be out of town on the date of the wedding. A few days after I sent the RSVP, I got an email from the groom saying he had "suspicions" that I wasn't attending because I was bitter about not being in the wedding party.
I was shocked by the email. Not only do I not care about who is in the wedding party, I don't think we're such close friends that we should have been invited in the first place. I think it's appalling that he would accuse someone who declined an invitation of having ulterior motives for not going.
I emailed him back, explaining that we will be out of town and how upset and disappointed I am that he would think something like that. Wasn't what he did a breach of etiquette? -- APPALLED IN NEW YORK
DEAR APPALLED: Yes, it was. Your inability to attend the wedding appears to have brought to the surface the groom's insecurity about his social relationships. I don't blame you for being appalled. The man's behavior was inappropriate.
DEAR ABBY: My sister is 63, divorced, educated, intelligent, self-employed and receives monthly support from her ex-husband. The problem is she takes no responsibility for her health. She's extremely overweight because she overeats and doesn't exercise. She complains every day that she feels "terrible." (I call it self-pitying whining.)
Our other siblings think it is too late to confront her about it. I want to address the issue now, before she gains even more, or has a stroke or heart attack and, quite frankly, won't be able to care for herself. I don't want to see the responsibility fall on her three kids or us siblings. It's not fair. She's just too lazy to make necessary changes and constantly whines! Your thoughts? -- SIBLING STANDING BY
DEAR SIBLING: The problem with "confronting" someone is that it usually makes the person being confronted defensive. In a case like this I don't recommend it. However, a family intervention might work. If the family members were to get together and, as a group, talk to your sister about your concern for her health, it might be the wake-up call she needs.
No mention of "whining" should be made, but suggest that she might have a touch of depression that could be helped if she brings it to the attention of her doctor. Tell her you all love her, that you're worried about her, and are willing to help her schedule an appointment with her physician if she's willing. I think that would be a loving thing to do.
DEAR ABBY: When my wife and I go to a busy restaurant or a concert where we can pick up last-minute tickets, I often ask her to hop out of the car to find out if the wait times are reasonable or tickets are available while I wait in the car. I do this so I won't have to find a parking space until we're sure we will be staying.
My wife says my doing this is tacky. I believe it is efficient. What are your thoughts, recognizing that I usually come up with the short straw on matters of manners? Thanks! -- JOHN K. IN WINDSOR, CONN.
DEAR JOHN K.: Your request makes perfect sense to me. Parking spaces are sometimes hard to find and valet parking isn't cheap. However, because your wife resents doing this, either she should be the one to drive so you can "hop out," or tickets and reservations should be made in advance either online or on the phone.
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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)