Dear Abby: Showing up sick to a dinner invite is always in bad taste, even if it’s not COVID

DEAR ABBY: My wife and I recently invited two of our best friends to dinner. As the husband was walking through our front door, he announced, “I have an awful cold, but it’s not COVID!” I was so shocked that he would show up on our doorstep with a communicable disease of any kind, I didn’t know how to respond. I didn’t want to spoil the evening, but I was seething the whole time, angry at him for exposing us.

We may never invite this couple to our home again, but what should I say if confronted with a similar situation in the future? Am I overreacting? Is it better to get sick for a week than to risk offending someone by asking them to go home, get well and then reschedule? — TAKING CARE OF MYSELF

DEAR TAKING: If a guest, “good friend” or not, suspects they may have caught a bug, they should call their hosts and reschedule. This goes for the common cold, the flu and viruses that could be life-threatening. And you, as host, have every right to smile and tell your thoughtless friend to leave rather than possibly expose your family to whatever the person is carrying.

DEAR ABBY: My soon-to-be husband and I are moving back to our hometown in the months prior to our wedding. This is, in part, to make wedding organizing easier since we’re having it near home. We have other weddings to attend this season, and we need to reduce our living expenses while we save for a house.

Our original plan was to live with my parents for three or four months, which they have encouraged us to do. The trouble is, as the date approached, I realized that, while I love my mother, her alcoholism and the way she behaves when she drinks is difficult to be around. Actually, it’s really traumatic, if I’m being honest.

My other half and I have decided to stay with the parents of a good friend instead. They have a seven-bedroom house and are happy to host us, but I’m afraid of starting a conflict or embarrassing my parents by not living with them again. I’m not sure how to handle this without creating a rift before my wedding. — PROTECTING MYSELF IN UTAH

DEAR PROTECTING: Talk to your father. Thank him for his generosity and offer of hospitality, and explain the reasons for your decision. While he may be used to your mother’s drinking, living with an abusive alcoholic is no way for a young couple to start a marriage. There’s enough stress involved in planning a wedding without having to worry about your mother’s alcohol-infused shenanigans. If he doesn’t recognize the good sense in your and your fiance’s decision, proceed with your plans anyway.

If your fiance has seen how your mother behaves when she’s under the influence and doesn’t want to live under your parents’ roof when there is an alternative, he shouldn’t have to.

DEAR READERS: It’s Halloween, a time for fun and fantasy! I hope that any celebrating you do tonight will be creative, fun AND SAFE for everyone involved. Happy Halloween! — LOVE, ABBY

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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