A Wooden Friendship
Dear Margo: I am a happily married male teacher at a small school. Several years ago, a new teacher, “Louise,” came to work, and since we were teaching the same children, we developed a good relationship (platonic). She is outgoing and funny, and we joked and laughed together often. For instance, I teach woodworking classes, and when she would bring her homeroom to shop, she would admire something I had made, and say, “Why don’t you make me one of these for a wedding gift?” I would respond, “I’ll start as soon as I get the invitation,” and we would both laugh.
Well, the wedding came and went with no invitation. Almost all of our mutual friends went to the wedding. I was quite hurt, but I chalked it up to experience, reevaluated our friendship and moved on. Louise took a couple of years off, had a child and then came back to work. However, she continues to make comments like, “Why don’t you make me one of these toys for my child?” I have never mentioned her wedding or my feelings about it. How should I handle this new relationship without hurting her feelings? — Want To Keep It Professional
Dear Wants: There’s an old proverb that says you can’t control the wind, but you can adjust your sails. I think this is what you’ve done, and properly so. Imagining that you were better fiends than you were is causing you to suffer from illusion deprivation. You will recover in no time. While it might feel satisfying to say, “I’m still waiting to make your wedding present, but the invitation never came,” this is not what I would suggest.
Instead, to respond to her “subtle” request for a toddler present, I would just laugh and say, “Oh, that’s kid stuff.” I believe this babe erred in not inviting you, given the givens, but so be it. For someone who likes hand-wrought wooden things, she certainly didn’t play her hand very well. Onward. — Margo, inconsequentially
More Family Stuff…
Dear Margo: Both of my parents were married once before and have children from their previous marriages. My father got custody of his children; my mother did not have custody of her daughter. I grew up with my father’s children and am very close to them, but I only met “Hillary” a handful of times. Although I am equally related to them all by blood, I only really consider my father’s children my siblings.
Now, I’m getting married, and I don’t want to invite Hillary, but I’m worried my mother will be upset. It’s going to be a very small ceremony, just for close friends and family, and to be blunt, I think of Hillary as neither. She’s never met my fiance, and I’m not even sure she knows I’m gay. However, I know it has bothered my mother in the past that I am much closer to my father’s children than I am to hers. I think she also feels guilty that she is not very close to Hillary. In many ways, I think she feels more like a mother to my father’s children.
Hillary has never been less than polite to me, but she clearly doesn’t think of me as a brother, just as I don’t think of her as a sister. I’ve thought about just inviting her, as she most likely would not come anyway, but I’m not sure. What do you suggest? — Hesitantly
Dear Hes: From what you say, I would guess Hillary doesn’t give a fig whether she’s there or not. I think the consideration should be your mother. Let the decision be hers, which will make both of you feel good. If it would please her to have an invitation proffered, then do it — for her. Hillary is, after all, one person, so should she accept, yours will still be a small family ceremony. Because your instinct is she won’t accept, the odds are in your favor for getting things the way you want them and still looking generous. — Margo, strategically
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Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via the online form at www.creators.com/dear-margo.html. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.
COPYRIGHT 2012 MARGO HOWARD
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