Abby: Birthday girl boldly asks guest to bring a second gift

July 5, 2014 

DEAR ABBY: I am planning to attend a birthday party for my friend "Sophia" who is turning 50. When I mentioned to her that I would be shopping for her birthday gift, she asked that while I was shopping for her, that I also pick up a gift for her friend "Stacy."

I have met Stacy only a couple of times, and I think it was extremely nervy for Sophia to ask me to do it. The party is only for her, and I don't see the connection.

Sophia has done this in the past, and I'm trying to think of a way to tell her I'd rather not buy a gift for her friend. How should I handle this? -- No Longer A Doormat

DEAR NO LONGER A DOORMAT: Tell Sophia with a smile that you are not close to Stacy, don't know her taste and do not feel comfortable shopping for her. Smiling when you say it should prevent your refusal from appearing confrontational.

P.S. I agree she had a lot of nerve to ask.

DEAR ABBY: We went out to dinner with another couple. The wives are psychiatric nurses; the husbands are a banker and a business owner. All of us are accustomed to dealing with "sensitive" issues.

A woman at the table next to ours went to the ladies' room. When she returned, a short "train" of toilet paper was caught in the waistband of her slacks. It was very obvious. There was silence, but a palpable "energy," so the woman knew something was amiss and it might have something to do with her. The tissue "floated" with each step, so I knew it wasn't weighed down with moisture.

I joined the silent legion. Did I miss a moral imperative by not letting her know? I didn't know how to do it discreetly. If this should ever happen again, what -- if anything -- should I do? -- Mr. Manners In Massachusetts

DEAR MR. MANNERS: Imagine if the person with the paper trail was you or your wife. Would you want to know, so that when you got up to leave the restaurant all eyes didn't follow you out? A discreet way to have let the woman know there was a problem would have been for you or your wife to have written her a note, and given it to her server to pass to her. That way, she would know there was a problem with the least amount of embarrassment.

Dear Abby, written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069. © 2014 UNIVERSAL UCLICK.

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