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Sink 'friends' who pushed cruise plan

Dear Miss Manners: The daughter of a dear friend planned a destination wedding shortly after her engagement a year ago. She chose a cruise, with the wedding on an island we would be visiting on the cruise.

My husband and I were reluctant to go for several reasons. We both had to take a week of vacation and go on a cruise in which we have no interest. We tried polite refusals to the invitation but finally caved in and agreed to go.

Two weeks ago, the bride canceled the wedding. We have trip insurance, but it will not cover this type of cancellation -- the wedding was called off only three weeks in advance, so we get nothing back if we decide not to go.

We are now stuck with a cruise that we do not want because of the canceled wedding. My husband refuses to go and has withdrawn his request for time off from work. I will not go without him.

My husband thinks that the bride and her family should compensate guests who cannot get any money back. Our friends heavily pressured us to go and threatened to end the friendship if we did not. We are trying to be gracious, but we have paid a significant amount of money to attend this destination wedding. Do you have any advice for us?

Gentle Reader: Lots: Do not commit to major expenses of time and money for things you do not want to do.

Do not consider people friends if they threaten to break off the friendship if you do not cave in to their wishes.

Stop debating about asking these people for compensation. Miss Manners assures you that their original lack of regard for your circumstances indicates that they are not going to worry about, much less pay for, the losses incurred by you and probably dozens of others.

> Stick with flowers

Dear Miss Manners: A girl in our office just lost her mother to cancer, and her co-workers were going to give her a floral expression of sympathy.

But now two friends of hers who are part of the group want to use the money to buy her a gift certificate for a mani-pedi. I consider this inappropriate since it's more of a personal gift, and the rest of us are her co-workers, not friends.

Gentle Reader: Her friends' obvious purpose is to take her mind off her loss by pampering her. However well they may think they know her, they have not known her under these circumstances. Miss Manners would say that they do not know much about bereavement.

She may find more comfort in receiving a dignified tribute to her mother than to having others assume that she is more interested in prettifying herself.

Flowers are the properly solemn expression of sympathy. If her friends want to treat her, they should do it on their own when she seems to feel up to it.