Dear Carson: My son has been dating a woman for the past four years, and now she's like family. She's a lovely girl. The only problem is that she talks incessantly and she doesn't know when to go home. When we see her drive up, we all groan. It doesn't matter if breaking news or a special program we've been looking forward to is on television. She drops in and starts talking. It's at least three hours before she leaves. What's the best way to say, "You've overstayed your welcome"? After all this time, is it too late to say anything? Speaking to my son will do not good. He's probably glad to get a break from her talking. - Talked Out
Dear Talked Out: Unfortunately, a compulsive talker does not improve with age. I recommend first talking to your son, telling him how fond you are of his friend but that her incessant talking has begun to get on all your nerves. If that doesn't work, talk to the girlfriend, telling her the same thing. Use "I" messages: i.e. "I feel frustrated when you drop in and talk nonstop." Perhaps try telling her that you have looked forward to a particular program and that you want to listen to it. If all else fails, rise, take her by the arm, and gently but firmly guide her to the door. Say something like, "It was so sweet of you to drop by." I have been in the same situation. Confronting such people is difficult for those who are kind and considerate and who dread hurting someone else's feelings. However, remember that some people are insensitive to the fact that they are getting their needs met at the expense of others.
Dear Carson: Is it proper etiquette for a mother to give her daughter-in-law a baby shower? - Future Grandma
Dear Grandma: No, it is not proper for immediate family to hold a shower for any occasion. By immediate family, I mean mothers and mothers-in-law, sisters or spouses, grandmothers or grandmothers-in-law, husbands or wives, sons or daughters or other close in-laws.
Dear Carson: I want to share another perspective on the grandmother's baby shower. When my oldest daughter was expecting our first granddaughter, my bridge group gave me a surprise shower for my grandchild. When it was time for our dessert break, out came presents for our little one! It was so much fun sharing that special time with my best friends. - Blessed Grandmommy in Augusta
Dear Grandmommy: I stick to my guns that there are entirely too many showers and that people, as a rule, do not like occasions where they must spend their money. In my opinion, there is a sense of entitlement among our population in thinking that it is someone else's responsibility to fulfill their needs and desires.
Dear Carson: Is it now proper to send computer-generated thanks in lieu of the handwritten ones? - Expedient Etiquette
Dear EE: For close family, it is all right, but not for more distant friends and acquaintances.