Dear Amy: I wanted to see how you would feel if a brother-in-law said to you, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but I come first.
It came out of my brother-in-law’s mouth about a year ago.
I have since spoken to him but a family reunion is coming up and of course I would avoid any negative situation but I would like to hear from you on what you think I should do now?
Dear amazed: Any statement that begins with “Don’t take it the wrong way…” includes an invitation – if not a requirement – to take it the wrong way. (After all, is there a “right” method?)
At the time, you may have listened to this nonsense and may have replied, “Well, how would you like me to take that?”
At this point, I think you should interpret this as a somewhat desperate and rude statement made by a deeply anxious person.
And yes, while you’ll probably always remember it and attach it to your brother-in-law, at this point I think you should prove who comes first by behaving impeccably and confidently.
Dear Amy: My longtime girlfriend and I got engaged and are planning a small (but not tiny) wedding next year.
We anticipate 40 to 60 guests, exclusively family and close friends.
My question is: Do we need to invite our colleagues?
We both work in the same small office (20 people) within our church. We love everyone there, but we’re only really close with about five of those people.
One of our church pastors will officiate the ceremony, so at least a few people from work will be there.
We don’t want anyone to feel left out, but we don’t like adding 15 acquaintances to such an intimate event either.
Should we invite them? Shouldn’t we? Is there a third option?
Shy in New York
Dear Shy: No, you don’t need to invite all 20 colleagues to your wedding.
For you, there is a possible third option. It’s called a “church family” wedding, and it might be the perfect fit for you.
Discuss this with your clergy.
In a family church wedding, the church (which is also your workplace) opens the wedding service to any church member who wishes to attend. Attendees do not receive a printed invitation, but the clergy would announce the wedding from the pulpit and/or publish it in the bulletin, and invite members to attend the ceremony if they wish.
Your wedding ceremony will include your guests (40 to 60) and any other church members and colleagues who would like to attend your wedding.
After the ceremony, you and your new spouse will have punch, cake, and cookies in the church hall and thank your church family for witnessing your wedding. Then you and your guests would proceed to the reception venue for the private reception.
Dear Amy: I have a friend who signed me up to an online lecture series on obscure ancient history, hoping that I would spend my Saturday afternoons attending these virtual lectures with her.
I have absolutely no interest!
How to say “no, thank you” to this kind of gift without hurting her?
to feel ungrateful
Dear Ingrate: It is risky to offer a gift that requires regular attendance without having previously agreed with the recipient.
You might say, “That’s really nice of you, but I don’t think I can attend these conferences. Is there anyone else you could pass this on to? I would hate to feel like I wasted your generosity.
Dear Amy: I’ve been a long-time reader, and just want to say that I’m always impressed with the kindness and compassion you show to those who ask you questions, and the wisdom of your advice.
There is no shortage of negativity in this world, so I just wanted to point out that I think you are doing a fantastic job and that readers and those with questions are very lucky to have you as a resource.
Dear Mike: I don’t always get it right, so I’m saving that last spot in my column for people to disagree with me or correct me.
But I promised myself that I would occasionally post replies like yours, mainly to show how supported and grateful I am to all my readers. Grumpy and gracious, you all mean a lot to me.
You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.