Dear Annie: My best friend, “Maggie,” and I are like sisters.
We have great fun, can talk about nearly anything and have supported each other through our toughest times. Our husbands also get along well, and we often do things together.
Over the past year, Maggie has become increasingly critical of her husband, “Scott.” He is a likeable guy, but Maggie scolds and picks on him, rolls her eyes and basically treats him with contempt. Granted, Scott can be a little blunt, and his attempts at humour don’t always succeed, but her responses are worse. She will say, “You’re such an idiot. Why don’t you just keep your mouth shut?” Yet, the next minute, they will have their arms around each other.
We often see Maggie and Scott at parties, and it is clear that others feel embarrassed by this behaviour. Maggie has never mentioned marital problems to me.
In fact, she says sweet and complimentary things about Scott when it’s just the two of us. I don’t want to jeopardize our terrific friendship, so how do I approach this subject? She doesn’t take criticism well, no matter how gentle. — Baffled Friend
Dear Baffled: Some married couples fall into the habit of letting criticisms become common and public. We think Maggie might simply need a little push in the right direction.
The next time she says or does something critical of Scott, you might take her aside and say, “Are you angry with Scott? You seem to dislike him so much lately.” You also could give positive reinforcement when you witness affection, adding, “It’s so nice to see you two getting along.”
Dear Annie: I’ve been asked to be the maid-of-honour for a friend. I was planning to throw a bridal shower with 10 to 15 guests at my apartment. I had a nice luncheon-type party in mind.
The other day, my friend informed me that she wants to invite 65 guests and, since my apartment is too small for that crowd, said I should host it at a local restaurant. I checked with the venue, and it is way too pricey for my budget.
Even if I involve the other two bridesmaids, this will be a much bigger expense than I can afford.
Are there rules when it comes to bridal shower guest lists? I don’t want to hurt her feelings or lose her friendship, but combined with the expense of the dress, shoes, hair and bachelorette party, I may need to take out a loan. How can I handle this? After all, it’s her wedding. — Soon To Be Poor Maid of Honour
Dear Maid: The bride is allowed to give you the guest list, but she must keep to the hostess’s limit. When you told her you would give a shower for 15 people, she should have kept the guest list at 15.
It is inconsiderate of a bride to force anyone to shell out more than they can afford for a shower.
We recommend you tell her “so sorry,” this isn’t in your budget, and you will have to decline as hostess, but that you would be happy to give a smaller event in your apartment for 15 guests. We don’t care if it’s her wedding. It doesn’t entitle her to become Bridezilla.