Work to keep friendship alive

I was close to “Bob” in college. Four years ago, when he married “Sue,” whom I vaguely knew, I was the only one of his friends to attend her bachelorette party.

Dear Annie: I was close to “Bob” in college.

Four years ago, when he married “Sue,” whom I vaguely knew, I was the only one of his friends to attend her bachelorette party.

A few years after their wedding, I flew across the country and stayed with them for a while.

I had fun and sent a nice gift afterward.

When I later learned the whereabouts of a mutual friend who had fallen off the face of the earth, I suggested we all visit him, but Sue was adamantly against it.

She had been close to this guy in college and said I should respect his wishes to be left alone.

So I didn’t go.

Since then, I’ve had this vibe that I’ve been dumped as a friend.

They are both on Facebook, but don’t acknowledge my membership.

I still send Christmas cards and occasional letters, but only rarely get a reply — and it’s always short.

I would like to visit again, but I hesitate.

Bob has never been great at initiating contact, and Sue and I are not that chummy.

Should I confront Bob and end the mystery? Or should I assume this is just how they operate? — Vancouver, Wash.

Dear Vancouver: It is not uncommon for some wives to subtly discourage friendships between their husbands and other women.

Plus, you might have triggered something that made Sue uncomfortable.

A confrontation will only bring denial.

If you want to maintain the friendship, you will have to make the greater effort.

Continue sending cards and letters, and be especially friendly to Sue. Let them know when you’ll be in their area, and suggest meeting for dinner.

In time, the friendship will either warm up or fizzle out on its own.

Dear Annie: We recently hosted a barbecue for our son’s 18th birthday.

We invited members of his sports team and their parents, along with a few other friends.

Over the past four years, most parents have hosted at least one event for the team, so we thought this would be a good time.

We were not expecting gifts, but guests all brought cards. It occurred to me that some might include gifts, and I didn’t want to embarrass anyone, so I put the cards away. The next morning my son opened them, and they all contained various amounts of money. Thank-you notes will be sent.

My question is: Did I make a faux pas by not opening the cards that night?

Also, most of these people had never been to my home. Am I a snob if I don’t offer to show them around? Am I a showoff if I do? — New at Hosting

Dear New: You’re fine. The cards should not have been opened at the party.

As for your home, it’s OK to offer to show guests around when you have a small group over. When you are entertaining a large crowd outside, however, you should not be ignoring some of your guests in order to give others a guided tour.

Dear Annie: Your advice to “Debbie” was dangerous. Please don’t tell her to put a lock on her bedroom door. In case of fire or other emergency, interior doors must not be locked. In a rental, locks on bedroom doors are often illegal. In new home construction, keys to locked doors are placed in view on the trim above the door. Everyone should know where the keys are.

Another error people make in their homes is thinking that a window screen will prevent someone from falling out of the window. — David

Dear David: Those are excellent warnings, but we think you might have misunderstood this particular case. Debbie doesn’t want to lock herself in, which could be dangerous. She wants an exterior lock so her sister cannot steal her things when she’s out. When Debbie’s in the room, it is not necessary to keep it locked.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 6061

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