Dear Annie: I hope you can offer a solution to my dilemma. Over the Fourth of July, I hosted a party at my home. Most of the guests were my son’s friends, whom I get along with, and I am always happy when they bring their kids, because then my grandbabies have little ones to play with.
My issue is that for the past few years at my party, one couple, “John” and “Cynthia,” always invite and bring additional people whom I either don’t know or don’t particularly care for. They do this without asking me ahead of time.
This year, John and Cynthia brought a couple with a baby whom I had never met before. They all pitched tents in my yard and spent the night without even asking! Later in the afternoon, John’s brother, sister-in-law and niece also showed up without being invited. John, Cynthia and the couples they brought with them didn’t leave until late the next day, leaving dirty diapers in my garbage. They even started searching for leftovers in the fridge. (There weren’t any because of all the additional uninvited people.)
It was all I could do to hold my tongue. I had asked my son to speak to them about this issue. Apparently, he neglected to do that because he is afraid they would just say they won’t come. That would be fine with me, except for wanting my grandkids to have more playmates.
The general opinion seems to be that it is incredibly rude and inconsiderate to do this. How do I prevent this from happening again without having them flip out and just refuse to come next time? Even after a month, I am still fuming about it.
Dear Blindsided: Your yard is not a campground, even though John and Cynthia are treating it as such. Actually, they’re more like bears at the park dumpster — raiding your food and leaving a mess.
If I were you, I probably wouldn’t even invite them back next year. But if you do, expressly state that the invitation is just for the two of them and their children. If they “flip out” at that and refuse to come, you’re better off. If John and Cynthia are raising their children to be anything like them, you probably don’t want them influencing your grandkids anyway.
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Dear Annie: This is in response to “I Knew Better,” who is deeply ashamed for sleeping with someone. I’d like to address the faith part a little bit more and speak directly to her.
“Knew Better”: You did something against your faith. Period. You stopped. With your faith, do you believe you can be forgiven but you can’t forgive yourself? You are putting your faith in a very small box.
Open up and let the freedom of your forgiveness flow, because conviction of wrongdoing comes from your faith. Condemnation does not come with your faith. You may “feel” shame, but you are much more than this one instance. Stand up like the princess you are! You are beautiful!
— Keep the Faith
Dear Keep the Faith: Beautifully said. I’m happy to post your encouraging words.
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— A native Californian, Annie Lane writes her Dear Annie advice columns from her home outside New York City, where she lives with her husband, two kids and two dogs. Her debut book, Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie, features favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette. Email your Dear Annie questions to email@example.com. Click here to read additional columns. The opinions expressed are her own.