Ask Amy

Dear Amy: My hus­band has a highly spe­cial­ized ca­reer. As a re­sult, I f ind my­self in a sub­cul­ture (spouse) of a sub­cul­ture (oc­cu­pa­tion) of a sub­cul­ture (com­pany).

The Denver Post - - FEATURES - By Amy Dick­in­son

My hus­band works with “Dan,” who is mar­ried to “Cate.” For a while now, Cate has been reach­ing out to try to get to­gether. She is an ex­tro­verted over­achiever, al­ways sur­rounded by scores of peo­ple, while I am a quiet home­body and tend to lean on a few very close fam­ily and friends.

A few years ago, af­ter fer­til­ity strug­gles and IVF, my hus­band and I had a baby girl. While we were dis­creet about it dur­ing the process, we have been quite open about get­ting preg­nant through IVF, though we don’t share the gory de­tails.

Cate re­cently asked me about our ex­pe­ri­ences with IVF. I was happy to let her know the name of our clinic and an­swer a few of her ba­sic ques­tions, while sidestep­ping the more per­sonal ones. Most of all I strongly rec­om­mended that she speak to her doc­tor to ex­plore their op­tions.

She has now asked me mul­ti­ple times to have lunch with her or to meet up to “talk about it some more.” I can’t risk of­fend­ing or up­set­ting her, but I also don’t feel com­fort­able as an ex­pert or con­fi­dant on her fer­til­ity jour­ney, es­pe­cially if it means shar­ing the per­sonal and fi­nan­cial de­tails of mine.

On top of this, my hus­band and I have just started try­ing to get preg­nant again, so I am go­ing back to the in­jec­tions, mon­i­tor­ing, and pro­ce­dures in the com­ing weeks. While that is go­ing on I re­ally won’t have any ex­tra band­width for her.

I sus­pect it is as sim­ple as re­peat­ing, “You should talk to your doc­tor” over and over again while speak­ing in gen­er­al­i­ties, but I am hop­ing you have some other glow­ing in­sight to of­fer. — Only an Ac­quain­tance

Dear Ac­quain­tance: You will have to risk seem­ing shy or “stand­off­ish” while try­ing to po­litely re­pel this ea­ger per­son. Tell her, very truth­fully, “Ev­ery­body’s ex­pe­ri­ence is dif­fer­ent, and so I can’t re­ally help you too much through this process. I hope you fol­lowed through with your doc­tor.” If there is a book or on­line re­source you found help­ful, you should share it with her.

In terms of her at­tempts to en­gage you so­cially, you need to con­vey: “Thank you for the in­vi­ta­tions — it is so nice of you, but I’m a bit of a home­body. I hope you un­der­stand.”

Dear Amy: I re­cently re­ceived an en­gage­ment an­nounce­ment that a niece is get­ting mar­ried. The an­nounce­ment was very nice, with in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing the wed­ding, and the ho­tel where rooms were blocked for guests. There was also a web­site with pic­tures of the cou­ple, along with a registry.

I did not bother look­ing at the registry be­cause I thought that when I re­ceived in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing the en­gage­ment party I would check the registry then.

Shortly there­after I spoke with the mother of the bride, who in­formed me that there was not go­ing to be an en­gage­ment party. Gifts were ex­pected sim­ply be­cause the cou­ple was en­gaged. To me, this was nervy and lu­di­crous. Am I wrong? — Per­plexed Aunt

Dear Per­plexed: I’m a lit­tle con­fused, too, be­cause if I saw an an­nounce­ment such as you de­scribe, I would as­sume that the gift registry was for the wed­ding, not the en­gage­ment.

En­gage­ment par­ties, which were once more com­mon, seem to have fallen off the so­cial map, as cou­ples add other cel­e­bra­tions (such as mul­ti­ple show­ers) to their wed­ding sea­son. You seem to be headed to­ward this fam­ily oc­ca­sion with an at­ti­tude that your niece and her fi­ance are al­ready be­ing “nervy and lu­di­crous,” without even con­sid­er­ing that you might be mis­in­ter­pret­ing their in­tent.

Dear Amy: Your ad­vice to “Years of Wine and Roses” was way off the mark. An al­co­holic who drives, no mat­ter the dis­tance, is a tragedy wait­ing to hap­pen. This el­derly al­co­holic might kill her­self, and take sev­eral oth­ers with her in the process.

I am the same age as this mother (85), not al­co­holic, but gave up driv­ing. This woman’s chil­dren need to re­port her to the DMV and have her li­cense taken away. — Dis­ap­pointed

Dear Dis­ap­pointed: Many read­ers agree with you.

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