Dear Miss Manners: During the pandemic, with restaurants limiting the number of patrons at one table, my friend would often send dinner invites to eight friends, stating that only six could be seated, so the first five people to answer "yes" could go.

I always declined, as my going would have left someone else out. Is it acceptable behavior to have this lottery system for dinner?

No, not for a dinner gathering. But it might be overlooked in the case of the most casual get-togethers among intimates — a classification that includes, “Who wants to go out for ice cream?” and “This day is never going to end. Time for a coffee?”

Dear Miss Manners: My longtime friend Annie has invited me to lunch with herself and Jenny, another of her longtime friends. We've gone out three times now. At each of these three meals, Annie and Jenny ordered food together, which they shared and excluded me from.

It's uncomfortable for me, but I'd like to keep seeing them. What should I do or say?

Nothing. Miss Manners grants that their behavior is odd, and even inconsiderate, but not asking you to commingle food is a better problem to have than commingling food without asking.

Dear Miss Manners: My son has been married to a woman for almost seven years, and together they have three daughters. For the first two years, during the holidays, I sent my daughter-in-law's parents a small but nice gift basket along with a warm note wishing them a wonderful holiday and thanking them for "co-grandparenting our granddaughters." I never received a "thank you" or any sort of acknowledgment from them.

Two years after my son and his wife married, her father passed away. Four months later, her mother remarried. This caused a lot of tension within the family, and my daughter-in-law and her siblings have had a very hard time accepting this new marriage.

I still continue to send a small token gift, and still have not received an acknowledgment. I have extended holiday dinner invitations to my daughter-in-law's mother and her husband (with my DIL's permission) because I think we should all just get along, and I would like my grandchildren to see both sets of grandparents. The invitations are accepted but then declined, usually on the day of the event.

My husband tells me to stop the gift baskets and the invitations. I know that I can't fix this mess between them, but I do not want there to be any regrets in the future. Should I stop, as my husband requested me to do?

You can have no reason for future regrets, which suggests that the remorse you wish to prevent is that of your daughter-in-law’s mother.

Based on her behavior to date, there is little reason to worry about this. And as someone who is used to interacting with people who would have been happier had they heeded her advice, Miss Manners agrees with your husband that it is past time to stop holding out the olive branch.

New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday through Saturday on washingtonpost.com/advice. You can send questions to Miss Manners at her website, missmanners.com. You can also follow her @RealMissManners.

2021, by Judith Martin