Ask The Lady: Gracefully Declining When Someone Invites Themselves Along

Cherished readers, forgive the Lady for her prolonged absence.

For now, here is a question from my emails…I am slowly getting to all of my correspondence!

Dear Lady Hooper-Brackett, 

I have a business acquaintance who continually hints to me that she would like to travel with me one day. Whenever I mention that I am going somewhere she starts with the broad hints. “We should travel together. I like going to ‘xyz’.” I continue to say nothing and ignore her each time. I would think that she would get the hint that I do not wish to travel with her. She is an extremely high-maintenance individual. Last year for our jobs, we were sent to St. Louis for a week and while everyone else packed all they needed in carry on bags, she packed a huge checked suitcase along with the carry ons. She is petulant and has a fit if she doesn’t get her way or things do not go as expected. The thought of being trapped in a room or a plane with her makes me cringe. How do I handle her pushiness?

Scared of Offending a Colleague

Dear Scared of Offending a Colleague,

Oh my dear, The Lady offers these thoughts as response to your email.

  1. Do you goad this woman into thinking you would be open to traveling with her?
  2. Why do you continue to share your travel plans with her? Is it to show off?
  3. Have you considered that she is lonely and looking for a friend? I am not dismissing your very valid feelings about traveling with her personally. The Lady Hooper-Brackett obviously know nothing about either of you, but generally difficult people become so from insecurity. Perhaps she wasn’t sure about her wardrobe choices being appropriate which is why she packed so much to take with her on your joint business trip.
  4. Might you ‘day trip’ to local places of interest? This would give you both the opportunity to see a new place without the time or space commitment of being in a hotel room.

The bottom line is be kind. One never knows what struggles another has. And keeping peace at work is an important goal.

Best Peaceful Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

 

New Year’s Diss: Why Did They Leave at 12:01?

Cherished readers, The Lady wishes you all a most Happy New Year! She was enjoying coffee and reading emails as is her habit in the morning and she found this correspondence there…sent to her at 116 AM this morning.

Dear Lady Hooper-Brackett, 

I had our annual New Year’s party earlier. My husband and I invited about 40 people to celebrate with us and we had the usual food and beverages available. It took a lot of work, preparation, and planning to get things set up. The party started at 7 PM and things seemed to be going well. At 1130 we started to watch the festivities in New York and anticipated the ball drop. After much to-do and the countdown and obligatory toast to the New Year…three quarters of my guests decided to leave. The time was 12:01AM! Barely a minute past midnight!!! I am quite offended but am not sure that I should be. My husband says that it was a long evening for everyone and some of our guests needed to work today, but I cannot help but feel that it is rude to up and leave so close to midnight. May I have your thoughts? 

Ringing In The New Year With Aggravation

Dear Ringing In The New Year With Aggravation,

Ah, The Lady understands your pain. The Lady also understand the pain of those who must work or those who a bit of age on them. The Lady’s mother would often entertain on New Year’s (back in the Dark Ages known as the 80s) and would have a party much as you just described. As most of the people attending the party were older folks (by older The Lady means in their 70s and 80s) it was often the case that once the ball dropped, the champagne glasses were drained, and New Year kisses shared, these people had their coats on and were headed for the door! The Lady’s mother (indeed no one) ever complained because the family had spent an enjoyable evening in their company. The Lady begs you not to feel offended. There was nothing ill-mannered in their behavior. In fact, why not begin the New Year by extending the benefit of the doubt and being happy that you were able to share the end of one year and the start of the next in good company.

Best 2018 Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

Food Friday: Ask The Lady

Cherished readers, what a timely question this is. The Lady so enjoys Thanksgiving for the family togetherness and of course, the opportunity to show off a properly set table! But just what if the table will be filled with those on opposite sides of the political spectrum?Let us examine…

Dear Lady Hooper-Brackett, 

I am a 53 year old woman who is beyond the point of tolerance for my family members. Maybe it’s my age, but I have no patience, time, or inclination to deal with people who are letting their opposing political views get in the way of my Thanksgiving celebration. My darling cherub children and their cousins are pretty much guaranteeing a big family feud as we carve the turkey. I have seen with my own eyes the posts on social media. I find this whole thing absurd and feel caught in the middle. What can I do? I told my husband I am ready to cancel the whole thing and go eat my Thanksgiving meal in peace at Golden Corral. 

Pissed Off Mother of 4

Dear Pissed Off Mother of 4,

Firstly, The Lady would like to point out that this is the precise reason that politics is on the No-No Topic list for polite conversation!

Second, while The Lady doesn’t have a problem with Golden Corral, she is unsure that you will be satisfied entrusting your Thanksgiving enjoyment to this place on what will probably be the most crowded day of the year.

Third, The Lady reminds you that the gathering will be at your home and YOU make the rules. If this animosity if being broadcast across social media, you have every right to send an email or make a call informing the warring factions that they are to leave their political squabbling at the door and not bring it inside. That is NOT what a family meal is for. And as you mention cousins will be coming to your home, The Lady would include their parents (you or your husband’s siblings) on the email or calls. MAKE IT VERY CLEAR (in a mannerly way, of course) that this is a non-negotiable house rule. For example:

Dear Children and Dear Nieces and Nephews, I am looking forward to seeing all of you on Thanksgiving and enjoying much-anticipated family time. I request that we use this day to celebrate family and gratitude and not use it to squabble over politics, religion, or any other divisive topic. I want to hear all about YOU, your families, jobs, and achievements. I love you all and I know that you will respect my wishes as you come to my home. I would be very disappointed to not continue our family tradition due to this matter. We will be family longer than any one person will be the President. Love, Your Pissed Off Mother and Aunt

The Lady is quite frankly tired of the political climate, which is why she frequently watches re-runs of Designing Women and The Golden Girls and has fond memories of the 80s and the Reagans. (The Lady shows her age!)

Please write back after Thanksgiving with an update.

Best Thanksgiving Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

Sunday Ask The Lady: Football Fracas

Cherished readers, Happy October and Happy Autumn! Today’s question comes from the host of football parties and The Lady feels that this just might be a situation that is quite common this time of year.

Dear Lady Hooper-Brackett,

Please give me the best advice you can on what to do about my cousin. She comes over every Sunday to watch football (we have about 20 people here each week as we enjoy watching the games). She is fine at first, but boy, once she has her fourth beer in her, she becomes a belligerent jerk. She thinks she is being funny with people, she picks on people, but she calls it ‘busting chops’; she is really rude and crass. She is hurting the feelings of everyone who come here. My problem is, I am completely a non-confrontational person. The thought of dis-inviting her is keeping me up at night. What do I do? 

Stressed Hostess

Dear Stressed Hostess,

The Lady certainly doesn’t advise speaking to her about this while she well into her cups. The Lady shudders to think what would happen. The Lady must admit that she cannot understand those types of people who feel the need to ‘bust chops’ as you said. How does it contribute to a pleasant time to pick on others?

When she is sober, talk to her about her behavior. If you are still scared to do this and it  still gives you insomnia…omit liquor from the Sunday get-togethers completely and see if  the same thing happens. If she is no longer jerky, then fine…all is well. But if she is still rude, The Lady fears you must tell her that she is no longer welcome.

No guest has the right to behave in the manner you described. She is showing disrespect to you, your home, and your other guests.

The Lady Hooper-Brackett

Sunday Ask The Lady

Cherished readers, I am back with a new Ask The Lady.

Dear Lady Hooper-Brackett,

My lady, I have two questions.

  1. Is it appropriate for me to attend the wake of a neighbor that I only knew in passing? I would wave at this man and his wife every day when I would come and go from work, but I never said more than hello. I’m not sure if it would be uncomfortable to see his wife and I worry about saying the wrong thing.
  2. Are you all right? Where have you been? I missed your wit.

Courteous Neighbor

Dear Courteous Neighbor,

The Lady thanks you for your questions. and will start by answering your last one first.

The Lady has been busy on a consulting job and the time available in the day has been scarce.

Now to question two: Of course The Lady believes that you should attend the wake. It is the neighborly thing to do. While you did not say if these people were older folks, The Lady makes the assumption that they are. Think of how your neighbor’s widow must feel right now after losing her husband. Your presence and support, I am sure, will be a comfort to her. And if The Lady may offer further advice…there is nothing wrong with checking in on her in the future to see how she is doing.

Best Neighborly Wishes,

The Lady Hooper-Brackett