Dear Amy: Every year, with the help of my husband and six children, I throw a birthday party at a local skating rink. That’s all I want: to party and roller skate with my family and friends like I was still young.
We rent the entire room and invite many families. We serve a handful of refreshments and play some fun music. It’s awesome and I look forward to it every year except this year.
I dread it because one family (our neighbors) are just terrible guests. They bring extra people without asking permission, their four kids run into the middle of the rink and actually knock people over, and last year they took water bottles from the aid table and threw them down the stairs to the main entrance, where they would burst.
Parents never do anything or offer to help clean up the mess their children leave behind.
The problem is, they know I throw this party every year.
How do I avoid inviting them when I know they’re going to ask questions about it? I feel like my only option is to write it off for a few years and hope they forget about it.
– Party animal
Dear party-goer: Yes, you could cancel your celebration and hope those neighbors forget about it over the course of a few years.
We could also hope that this turbulent family would perhaps join a traveling circus and perform their act elsewhere.
Or… you could just not invite them.
If they ask you about it, you could tell them honestly: “We’re reducing the guest list this year; we’re going to keep things smaller and more contained. Unfortunately, your group is not included this year. Maybe in the future we will expand it again.
I don’t suggest diving into the details of why they are excluded unless they explicitly ask. The reason you should not explain your reasons is that if you do, then you may be forced into a dialogue about behavior that occurred a year ago and to which you did not respond proportionally (or at all). everything) at the time.
It might be worth seeing if the rink has a security guard who might be willing to work an extra shift during your party. This would take some of the pressure and responsibility off of you to follow basic safety rules.
dear Amy: A few years ago, my wife had an emotional affair with a guy named “Jerry” who played tabletop RPGs (role-playing games) with us at a local comic book store.
We broke up for a few months because of her involvement with Jerry (along with other issues), but we worked things out and reconciled.
Jerry is now married and has one child.
Now, every other Friday, I organize a game at the store for a group, and she organizes another game at our house at the same time for her group.
I thought I was rid of Jerry, but my wife just told me he’d like to join the band. She knows I can’t stand this guy, or what happened, but she seems happy to have him back.
I know if I tell him I don’t want him in the house it will start a huge argument.
Dear Joué: This relationship has already been the catalyst for a separation between you and your wife. Regardless of Jerry’s current marital status, your wife should respect the recognized risk to her own marriage and refuse to spend time with him regularly.
You may find that over time the trust between you and your wife has been completely restored and the risk of this outside relationship has faded. This would be a good time to allow Jerry back into your gaming circle and consider ways to tolerate his presence.
You could call a beeper here and suggest that Jerry is welcome to join the Friday playgroup, but that he should attend the one you run at the store, not the one your wife runs at home.
dear Amy: I appreciated your gentle rebuke of “Incompatible,” the “smartest guy in the room,” who had no patience with his elderly in-laws and for whom advice didn’t work.
This man may be intelligent, but until he develops some humility, he will be very alone.
– Was there
Dear, I’ve been there: His intelligence was matched only by his ignorance.
You can email Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.
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