Ask Amy

The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE - By Amy Dick­in­son

Dear Amy: A cou­ple, “Mark and Rhonda,” just moved into our area. My hus­band and Mark are go­ing to be busi­ness as­so­ciates, so I con­tacted them by phone and in­tro­duced my­self to Rhonda,

of­fer­ing to take them to our so­cial club for din­ner.

I told her that there was a dress code at our club: men wear ties and jack­ets, and ladies wear dresses or dressy pant suits.

We got to the club to find that they had ar­rived early. Rhonda was wear­ing a black ny­lon neg­ligee! This was not a dress. She was nearly fall­ing out of it at the top, and every­one was star­ing and whispering.

I didn’t know what to do. We had a most awk­ward din­ner.

At one point I leaned over to her and said that she might want to pull the top of her out­fit up some­what, as she was lit­er­ally com­ing out of it.

She told me mat­ter-of-factly that she was proud of her body and didn’t care who knew it; and if any­one had a prob­lem with it, it was their prob­lem, not hers. I was shocked, to say the least, and am still em­bar­rassed.

My hus­band went to their home for a work meet­ing and she greeted him wear­ing a sim­i­lar frock — he gin­gerly raised this is­sue with her hus­band and he just said, “Well, she does look great, right?”

They are now ask­ing us to meet them at a restau­rant, and want us to pro­pose them for mem­ber­ship in our club (that won’t hap­pen).

I can’t in­tro­duce them to any of our con­ser­va­tive friends, although they keep hint­ing that they would like to meet peo­ple here. The busi­ness con­nec­tion will have to go on, so I can’t re­ally tell them that I don’t want to be in­volved with them ever again. — Still Shocked

Dear Shocked: You could in­tro­duce this cou­ple to your friends, as they have asked you to do — and let the chips (or other things) fall where they may. It is also com­pletely your right to choose not to so­cially ex­tend your­self fur­ther.

I sug­gest ac­cept­ing their in­vi­ta­tion to meet again, and if you are again so un­com­fort­able by “Rhonda’s” at­tire, you should be both po­lite and hon­est, say­ing pri­vately, “You told me be­fore that if any­one had a prob­lem with the way you dress, it’s too bad. Well, I’m a mod­est and con­ser­va­tive per­son, and I find I do have a prob­lem. I take full re­spon­si­bil­ity for my prob­lem, and I am also un­com­fort­able spend­ing time with you be­cause of it.”

Dear Amy: My younger sis­ter does every­thing in her power to “one up” me. She’s al­ways af­ter the big­ger, bet­ter ver­sion of any­thing I have. Nor­mally I’m not both­ered by it, un­til re­cently.

I’m newly en­gaged to a won­der­ful man af­ter be­ing to­gether a num­ber of years. In the mid­dle of wed­ding plan­ning, my sis­ter dis­played her new di­a­mond ring as an an­niver­sary gift. She claimed it was their 10-year an­niver­sary of be­ing a cou­ple, but they have only been mar­ried for four years. The ring is (coin­ci­den­tally) dou­ble the size of mine.

I be­lieve that this was in­ten­tional. I don’t un­der­stand the need to be com­pet­i­tive. She al­ready had her en­gage­ment and dream wed­ding. We have al­ways had a close re­la­tion­ship, but I’m hold­ing back on sharing any­thing with her or any­body else out of fear that she’ll have “an an­nounce­ment” not long af­ter mine. What can I say to her?

Dear Out-Ringed: Here’s what you can say to your sis­ter: “What a beau­ti­ful ring!” And — that’s it.

It’s hard to com­pete when the per­son you’re in com­pe­ti­tion with won’t play. So — you be you. Un­der­stand that a deep in­se­cu­rity on her part drives this dy­namic, and feel sorry for the per­son who needs to try to seize con­trol of oth­ers’ big mo­ments.

Yes, you should be cir­cum­spect re­gard­ing any­thing you share with your sis­ter, and yes, you should an­tic­i­pate her an­nounc­ing her preg­nancy dur­ing her wed­ding toast.

Dear Amy: “50 and Lonely” was won­der­ing how to make new friends. You made many great sug­ges­tions, but you never sug­gested that she look for friend­ship in a house of wor­ship. Why? — Up­set

Dear Up­set: “50 and Lonely” didn’t men­tion hav­ing an ac­tive faith prac­tice, but you are right — friend­ship of­ten ac­com­pa­nies fel­low­ship.

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