DEAR ABBY: Recently a friend came over and took me to lunch. She has a small, 50-year-old vintage car that was popular in the 1960s. She came to my house from Marin County over the Golden Gate Bridge.
As she drove us to the restaurant, her car stalled twice. It was underpowered and, in my opinion, rickety. After she dropped me home, I sent her an email to express my concern that she drives an unsafe car. I was worried for her safety. She took offense, so I apologized.
She has plenty of money to buy a safe, used car like anyone else, but she says, “I like driving vintage.” I don’t want to get into her car again. Was I wrong to tell her I felt her car was unsafe? – Nervous Passenger in San Francisco
DEAR PASSENGER: You weren’t wrong to warn her. However, you may have been wrong to assume that she has “plenty of money to buy a safe, used car.” Because you don’t want to get into her car again, you should provide transportation from now on or meet her at the restaurant.
DEAR ABBY: My across-the-street neighbor and I have become friendly. She has a 15-month-old child and a newborn. Not only is she not married to the baby’s daddy, but they don’t live together.
She has been asking me to help her a lot, now that the baby is born. I’m 10 years older and raising three kids, all in their teens.
Abby, I don’t want to raise anyone else’s kids. How can I politely tell her that I have my own family to care for? She has a tendency to overreact. – Keeping Distance
DEAR KEEPING DISTANCE: To tell your neighbor that you “don’t want to raise anyone else’s kids” may be accurate, but it’s a bit rough. When she asks you to do things for her, be pleasant and say – consistently – that you are busy, don’t have time, have other plans, etc. If you do, she will soon realize you are not to be depended on.
DEAR ABBY: My son has lived overseas on and off for six years. He’s being married to a young woman where they met, in Wales. Needless to say, not everyone can attend, so we planned to have a reception for them in the States.
My son already has a fully furnished house overseas and doesn’t need anything, and the cost of taking gifts back would be astronomical. Anyway, he is thinking of asking for monetary help with the honeymoon. Would this be all right to do and how would you ask people for it? – Help for the Honeymoon
DEAR HELP: Many young people today post requests like that on their wedding website. Or, because friends and relatives may ask what they need after receiving invitations or announcements, the message can be conveyed verbally. According to the rules of etiquette, however, requests for gifts or money should never be included with the invitations or announcements.