Dear Abby: How does one live peacefully and get along with one's in-laws? I understand everyone has different ideas, morals, etc., and I feel we should all try to respect one another's differences. However, my in-laws make it very difficult to spend time with them.
How does one eat at the same table with people who eat with their faces an inch from their plates and chew with their mouths open? How does one tolerate their complaining about everything and everyone? How does one coexist with people who think they're perfect and the rest of the world is flawed?
I thought about giving them an etiquette book as a gift, but my spouse told me not to waste the money.
-- Biting My Tongue in Minnesota
Dear Biting: An etiquette book would help only people who recognize they needed to consult one. The way to deal with your in-laws is, first, to remember they did one thing right: They produced your husband.
Because their table manners offend you, visit with them after mealtime whenever possible. When they complain, respond with something positive or tactfully redirect the conversation to another subject. When they present themselves as perfect, never disagree -- and see them as infrequently as possible.
Just looking for lunch
Dear Abby: Does a woman consider a man's invitation to lunch as the next thing to his asking her to sleep with him? And what do others think about this invitation if the female mentions it to her husband or friends?
I asked a female co-worker to lunch for purely social reasons, but I have gotten reactions of derision from others about it. Can't a man ask a female to lunch without some sort of negative social reaction?
-- Let's Do Lunch, Missoula, Mont.
Dear Let's Do Lunch: In my book he can. And many do. To ask someone to lunch in the bright sunlight of high noon in a casual restaurant is hardly what I'd call a proposition.