DEAR STEEL ADVICE: Are we supposed to take our friends' idiosyncrasies as OK or say something about them?
Friend 1: When we shop together she always asks me what I'm going to buy or what I did buy.
Friend 2: Goes off on a tangent when we are talking on the phone; all at once I have no idea who she is talking about nor do I care!
Friend 3: Does my hair frequently but she can't stop talking from the time she shampoos my hair till my hair is sprayed. I want to say, "Shut up awhile!"
Should I not say anything or tell them what I think?
-- PERPLEXED FRIEND
DEAR PERPLEXED: Do not say anything. Your friends' habits are nerve-wracking. However, it is better to be patient than to hurt feelings and risk destroying a friendship. Tolerance of another's quirks is the glue that cements friendship.
When your friends' habits begin to annoy you, focus on the person's good qualities. Let them vent. Close quarters makes situations like you describe worse. So steer clear of taking all-day outings or road trips with these women.
DEAR STEEL ADVICE: What should you say if your daughter is getting married and her future in-laws offer no help in paying for wedding expenses and then they show up at the food tasting for the reception?
-- MOTHER OF THE BRIDE TO BE
DEAR MOTHER OF THE BRIDE: You should ask them if they like the food. Never forge ahead and make wedding and reception plans with the expectation that the other parents will automatically contribute to the expense.
Today the only hard and fast rule about wedding expense is at the end of the day the vendors get paid.
Family circumstances and values differ, and it sounds as if this groom's parents are not interested in writing a check to help underwrite the party. Their goals may not include making sure your daughter has her dream wedding. Their son is the adult getting married.
Be candid with your daughter and future son-in-law when you tell the couple what you expect to spend for their wedding and reception.
If the bride and groom do not care to contribute or are unable to pay some of the expenses, the wedding may need to be scaled back to meet your budget.
Need some Steel Advice? Email questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Mary Ann Wellener, Steel Advice Column, c/o Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. Follow Mary Ann on Twitter at @PGSteelAdvice.