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Dear Margo

Dear Margo column

Q. I really need help. I’m 25, single, no kids, and I moved to a new apartment complex a few months ago. I’ve never been one to make friends with neighbors, because normally I don’t have time because of work, etc. Since getting laid off last month, I’ve been home a lot more and have begun developing friendships with a few of the ladies around here. I met “Sue” first, and through her I met “Anna.” Anna is the problem.

Anna is a few years older than me and engaged to a nice man with whom she has a young child. Whenever I see Anna, she wants to drink. She says she has a right to go a little crazy like her fiance gets to do all the time. She won’t just have a glass of wine or a couple of beers, though. She indeed goes crazy and is soon riding the “roller coaster.”

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She starts out fine and then gets angry with her fiance or her dad or her old friends, etc. From there, she moves on to some truly painful accidents and deaths and sobs and sobs. Then she’s back to OK, and we have a laugh or two — and then it starts all over again. These past evenings have been particularly stressful. The first night, she brought over a bottle of tequila, and although I didn’t want to drink, I did let her in. I couldn’t get her out till 3 a.m. I walked her home, and her fiance was waiting up for her and was very upset.

I don’t know what to do. I’ve been hiding in my apartment all day. I just cannot face these people. How do I deal with this? I talked to my mom, and she said to not talk to them and ignore them both from now on. Is she right?

A. Your mom is not entirely right, but she’s on the right track. I don’t think you can just not speak, given the history. You can, however, tell Anna that you believe she has an alcohol problem, along with painful issues she has not dealt with in any constructive way. She is self-medicating and trying to drown her sorrows. The problem is that sorrows know how to swim.

If I were you, I would highly recommend AA and/or a counselor (and maybe take her fiance with her). Tell her you will not be available for any more tequila evenings. If necessary, don’t answer your door. And I hope you get a job soon.

Q. It’s been some time since I’ve written. So, how have you been? Here is my query: I just received an invitation to a bridal shower dinner. 1) Should we (males) have been invited? 2) Since it is a dinner, are we expected to pay for our own meal? The invite said, “Join us for dinner . . .”
3) Is it cheesy to say, “In lieu of a bridal registry, the bride and groom kindly request the favor of a monetary gift toward their honeymoon in Italy”? At 69, I may be old-fashioned, but I think that’s really tacky.

A. I’ve been well, thanks. Here’s what I think. 1) Some showers do include men. 2) I’m not sure how you got the idea that people pay for their own dinners. Usually, a shower has one or more hostesses; it is like a gift to the bride. I’d be surprised if there were multiple checks, but if there are, grin and bear it. 3) The request for money is happening more often, and some people do find it tacky. I’ll bet you didn’t know there are now registries just for cash. Remember that a request is not a command, and if you’d feel better, send a wedding gift of your choice. All of this, of course, is predicated on how you feel about the couple.

All letters must be sent by means of the online form at www.creators.com/dearmargo.

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