Ask Amy: Girlfriend’s honor is ‘on the rocks’

July 20

DEAR AMY: Last night my boyfriend and I went to a party. We ran into someone who used to be very rude to me, to the point where he once threatened me physically. This is all because I used to be in the same social circle as his ex.

This guy offers everyone at the party a drink except for me, and tells everyone they can help themselves to drinks and yet made a point of excluding me in front of everyone.

My boyfriend took the drink he offered him and started to make nice with this guy. I thought it was wrong of him to do so, knowing I have been mistreated in the past.

I’m not one to hold a grudge but when I get singled out in front of everyone I’m gonna be a little annoyed.

My boyfriend thought it wasn’t a problem at all to make friends with the guy who was being rude to me at this party.

I would just like for him to understand that I wasn’t trying to get him to start a fight or be rude to him but to simply show me (his girlfriend) some respect and defend my honor by at least not accepting a drink if I wasn’t offered one, as well. -- Misunderstood

DEAR MISUNDERSTOOD: Most people don’t conform to a strict code of conduct when it comes to defending someone else’s honor at a drinks party.

I agree that your boyfriend (or any friend) should react if they notice a friend is being slighted or mistreated.

The polite thing for your boyfriend to do would have been to accept the drink and then turn to you and offer you one, as well. Then the path would have been smoothed for a social (if not actual) reconciliation.

DEAR AMY: Kinfolk came to visit for my 92nd birthday.

We went to church together. After worship there was a social hour: people talking pleasantly with one another.

One knee-high little boy would cling to his father’s legs, but periodically whirl around the room and then head back to his dad. Not a good arrangement with older people present.

I tried to get the man’s attention, but he was engrossed in conversation.

When it came time for us to leave, sure enough — here came the little boy, racing toward me. Down I went.

Forewarned, I was able to brace myself for the fall, and avoided anything serious.

Many 20-something parents seem oblivious to such problems. Older people are vulnerable in these circumstances. Amy, could you pass the word along? -- Older, Wiser Gentleman

DEAR WISER: I am happy to help. I hope that congregations will clip this and post it in their reception halls.

I admit to my own oblivion as a younger parent, but then I started spending time around elderly and frail people. It has been an eye-opening experience to see how vulnerable older people can be — but also how relatively nimble and resilient they can be due to wise strategizing about how to stay safe. You were smart to be prepared for this whirling dervish hazard in your midst.

I also need to add my own (semirelated) gripe: Parents — at a group gathering, such as coffee hour after church or a dish-to-pass community meal — please model graceful and good behavior by waiting with your children until the elders in your group are served and seated. Not only is this polite, it helps eliminate some of the hazards that arise when people crowd around the casseroles.

And if parents are really going to introduce order (as well as model good behavior) you might ask the kids ages 7 and older to pour drinks for the elders before the meal. Kids do better if they have a valuable job to do and it promotes healthy intergenerational interaction.

DEAR AMY: You told “Clean Jean” that it would be a good idea to shred 15-year-old divorce documents between her and her husband, rather than share them with her children.

I disagree; these documents become historical records and are part of a family’s history. She should keep them. -- Family Historian

DEAR HISTORIAN: You make a great point. Thank you.

Amy’s column appears seven days a week at www.washingtonpost.com/advice. Write to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

2014 by the Chicago Tribune

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