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 pants 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; I am running out of reasons to decline. They also want us to propose them for membership in our club (that won’t happen). How should I have handled the night at our club, and what do I do now? 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 between the two men will have to go on, so I can’t really tell them that I don’t want to be involved with them ever again. I’d love to have your thoughts on this.
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?
DEAR UPSET: “50 and Lonely” didn’t mention having an active faith practice, but you are right — friendship often accompanies fellowship.