Dear Carson: I have a friend who is always telling me everything I'm doing wrong. My mother has noticed it, as have a lot of other people. I don't want to hurt her feelings by telling her to bug off. What I do like about this friend is that she makes me laugh. Is there some polite way I can handle this? -- Chaffs at Criticism
Dear Chaffs: My definition of a toxic person or relationship is one that makes you feel worse than you did before you got together. This friend is out of line and her constant carping on your shortcomings is damaging the way you feel about her and is playing havoc with your self-esteem. Confront her and tell her how you feel, using the assertive statement, "When you ____I feel____because____. Put it in your own words and tell her behavior has been unacceptable and that you will no longer put up with it. Good luck!
Dear Carson: I am a widower of about two years and have been dating a lovely woman. An invitation just came in the mail for a 50th wedding anniversary and was addressed to me with no mention of a date.
These friends don't know that I have been seeing someone. When I accept should I simply state that "Jane Doe and I accept with pleasure"? -- Worrying Widower
Dear Widower: You should call your hosts and ask permission to bring your friend. You could ask permission in your note of acceptance, but that necessitates another note or telephone call from the hosts. They most likely would be delighted to have you bring your friend, but it would be presumptuous of you simply to assume that it is all right.
Dear Carson: Our closest friend's son is getting married and has asked my husband to be his best man.
What are the duties of a best man? Should my husband pay the clergyman? If so, how much? Also, should my husband pay for the groomsmen's gifts? Any suggestions for these gifts?
My husband is giving a golf party for the men and a bachelor's party. I am giving the luncheon for the bride. We are on a budget but want to make it as special as we can for them.
The wedding is in New England, and the expenses are mounting. Is there anything else that we can do or that is expected of us? -- Eager But Anxious
Dear Anxious: My goodness! You and your husband are taking on the role of a one-man band! You are already doing far too much!
Weddings are not meant to cause undue financial hardship on the guests. Any one of the things you mentioned, the bachelor's party, the golf party or the bride's luncheon, would be enough. Paying the minister would be appropriate, but only with the groom's money.
Gifts for the groomsmen are the groom's responsibility. In light of all the parties you are throwing, I would think a gift from you for the bridal couple could be omitted.
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