Dear Abby: I used to be close friends with "Colette." We were so close that I asked her to be a bridesmaid in my April wedding.
Over the last several years of our friendship, Colette became selfish and domineering. It didn't bother me so much before, because I felt her positive qualities outweighed the negative. However, after several recent incidents, I finally told her I was upset. She offered a cop-out response, and we have not communicated since then. That was a month ago.
How do I let her know that I want to withdraw my request for her to be a bridesmaid? I don't want to hurt her feelings, but my wedding will be a small, private affair, and her presence would be painful and disruptive to me and another bridesmaid who recently had a similar experience with her.
Colette may not be burning with desire to come anyway, given our falling out, and hasn't yet incurred any of the expenses or spent any of the time and effort associated with being a bridesmaid. I don't want to act unkindly, even though I don't plan on rekindling the friendship. – Needs Perspective in Kansas
Dear Needs: Tell Colette politely that your plans have changed and that you have decided to "scale back" the wedding; therefore your wedding party will be smaller and you won't need her after all. It's euphemistic enough that it could be taken to mean that finances have dictated your decision, which would be face-saving for her.
If she feels as you suspect she does, she may be relieved to be let off the hook. And if not, well – you don't plan on continuing your friendship with her in any case. Do not make the conversation anything but polite and brief.
Dear Abby: My mother had to be placed in a nursing home a year and a half ago. It has been a difficult time in our lives. She had two small, adorable dogs that kept her company for many years. I have kept them at her home and provide daily care and love to them.
I tried to find them a loving home, to no avail. I can't bring them to my home because I'm allergic to dogs. They're accustomed to being indoors, and the elderly one can't stand the extreme heat in our area.
My problem is my brother. He knows I need a good home for Mom's dogs, but he went out and BOUGHT another dog for his family. I was hurt and angry when he told me, but tried not to show it. I'm bitter about it because Mom's pets still need a home.
I'm finding it hard to speak to my brother now. I have never had a mean bone in my body or felt this way before, but I don't understand how he could do this. Am I wrong to feel this way? I respect your opinion, so could you advise me? – Doggone It!
Dear Doggone It!: Your feelings are understandable. However, before you let them degenerate into lasting antipathy, have a frank talk with your brother. Tell him your feelings and find out why he didn't volunteer to take in your mother's dogs. There is nothing to be gained by stewing in silence, and he may have had a reason.
You might have better luck finding a home for your mother's dogs if you contact no-kill shelters and rescue groups in your area. The dogs might be ideal companions for another senior if they are loving and housebroken. Most shelters offer a "senior for senior" discount where qualified senior citizens can adopt a senior companion animal, usually seven years old or older, with all fees waived.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.