Dear Carson: I was chatting recently with a friend when another friend approached us and thanked me for the wonderful time she had at my party.
The person with whom I was talking was not invited to the party. It was certainly an awkward moment, and I was so embarrassed I just stood there red-faced, with nothing to say. Was there a polite way that I could have saved the moment? -- Tongue Tied
Dear Tongue Tied: The friend who approached you forgot the most basic tenet of etiquette, which is that one says nothing that puts down or embarrasses another person. She meant well, I feel sure, but just did not think before she spoke.
Next time, simply thank the person and continue your conversation with a brief explanation that lets your other friend know his omission was not a slight, such as "Oh, it was fun to have Jim's golf group" or "glad you enjoyed Sue's birthday party."
My other suggestion in such an awkward situation is to smile, shrug your shoulders with a palms-up gesture, and reply, "What can I say," or "I can't have everybody every time."
Dear Carson: My fiance and I will marry in June. We have lived together in our own home for almost a year now and have all of the "usual" household items that would be on a gift registry. We would much rather receive money gifts to pay for our financed purchases of new living room furniture and a new refrigerator. How do we convey this without sounding cheap or crass? -- Nervous Bride
Dear Bride:You can't, because "cheap and crass" are apt descriptions of such behavior. It is presumptuous to assume that someone will give you a wedding gift. To ask for money is especially tacky.
Dear Carson: If a girl asks out a boy and he accepts, who is supposed to pay, the girl, the boy or both? -- Clueless
Dear Clueless: Common sense rules in such situations.
Here are situations where boys and girls are just friends or neighbors. In that case they should go "Dutch treat." It is unfair for the girl to initiate an expensive outing and expect the boy to pay. If a girl asks a boy to take her to a social event, she should offer to treat him to some sort of refreshment.