DEAR ABBY: My daughter is the youngest kid in the neighborhood, and a girl up the street treats her horribly. She calls her a baby, tells her she’s not a person and sends her home when everybody plays at her house.
The other kids are friendly with my daughter, and when they come to play at our house, the mean girl comes too. She’s never mean to my daughter when I’m around, but I don’t think it’s right to let her enjoy our pool and games when she won’t let my daughter play at her house.
How do I ask her to leave without seeming like a bully while allowing the other kids to stay and play? The other mother is of no help. — WANTS THE BULLY TO LEAVE
DEAR WANTS THE BULLY TO LEAVE: I assume the other mother is aware that her daughter refuses to allow your daughter to play at her house with the other kids. Because she hasn’t intervened, the ball is in your court. Teach your daughter a lesson in assertiveness. The next time the bully shows up, your daughter should tell the girl she is not welcome and why.
DEAR ABBY: We made plans on Sunday to get together with a couple the following Friday. We do this regularly. An hour before, I texted to be sure we were still on. I didn’t receive an immediate reply. A half-hour later, I called and was told yes. I replied, “Great! See you soon.”
Five minutes later, she texted me to say they were going out to dinner because friends from out of state had surprised them and “maybe tomorrow we can get together.” We are very disappointed in our close friends who made plans with us but changed their minds. Are we wrong to feel hurt? We could have changed our plans because some out-of-state friends showed up, but we didn’t. — HURT ON THE EAST COAST
DEAR HURT: I understand your feelings, but I hope you won’t nurse a grudge. Your friends made a snap decision on the spur of the moment which, unfortunately, lacked tact. It might have been better if, when these out-of-state friends appeared on their doorstep, the couple had contacted you and asked if they could bring the people along. They dropped the ball. Forgive them — this time.
DEAR ABBY: What does it mean when our daughter’s mother-in-law refuses to call my husband and me by our first names? In fact, she doesn’t call us anything. I bend over backward to be hospitable and treat her the way we want to be treated. — NAMELESS IN THE EAST
DEAR NAMELESS: How DOES she address you? “Mr.” and “Mrs.”? “Hey, you”? “Dear” or “Sweetie”? Have you told her this bothers you? It may mean she doesn’t particularly like either of you and this is her way of distancing. It could also mean that she can’t remember what your names are. You can’t go wrong if you continue treating her as you want to be treated and try harder not to take this so personally.
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 DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.