Steel Advice: Don't add people to guest list for someone else's party
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DEAR MARY ANN: Your recent response to my party invitation situation [July 10] was spot-on. I felt so comfortable reaching out to my friends to congratulate them on their anniversary. They were so thrilled to receive my card, and I have seen them at two parties hosted by mutual friends since. The plot has thickened, however.
The attendees at these parties are typically the same group of people, but one couple has been noticeably absent. Recently, I saw the [missing] couple at a local theater, and they mentioned not having heard from the hosts of the parties for quite some time. They asked if I had seen them recently. Trying not to be insensitive, I mumbled something about having run into them at the store while not mentioning having seen them at these recent events.
Now that I've broken the ice with my card acknowledging the anniversary, I feel comfortable reaching out to the hosts and simply commenting that I hadn't seen the couple at any of the recent parties. I could even ask if they were OK, just to get the conversation started. I know the couple are feeling excluded and would want to be involved in any upcoming celebrations.
-- PARTY PEACEMAKER
DEAR PARTY PEACEMAKER: There is a fine line between being thoughtful and being pushy. Be sensitive enough that you don't cross that line. In your enthusiasm for all of your friends to be together you may appear to be trying to orchestrate a guest list for a party you are not hosting.
When you are invited to the next party, you can mention your excluded friends. Say that you saw them and they asked about everyone. The host may or may not pick up on what you are alluding to. If you take this one any further you are acting like a self-appointed social director and you have crossed the line.
DEAR MARY ANN: With the onset of major storms up and down the East Coast this summer, I've been having the trees trimmed back from over my roof. My neighbor had a rather nasty branch fall on her house causing substantial damage, so she recently had her tree removed. We use the same tree service. So, we discuss the work each of us has done on a regular basis.
Recently, while the tree man was cutting back branches over my house, my neighbor called and asked if I'd have him remove a branch from one of my trees along the property line. A branch had grown over her yard, and she was concerned that it might be caught in one of the storms. I asked the tree man, and he replied that if the branch is over her yard, it is her responsibility -- not mine -- even though the trunk of the tree is in my yard. That was actually something I did not know. He further remarked that the branch was of no harm to her yard and that he'd look at it the next time he was doing work at her house.
I've not addressed the situation with my neighbor. I don't want to stir up trouble, nor do I want to pay for the removal of a branch that the tree man feels is not an issue, especially when he feels it is my neighbor's responsibility in the first place.
How should I proceed?
-- OUT ON A LIMB
DEAR OUT ON A LIMB: This is your neighbor. While neither of you controls the wind or the weather, you do control how you behave. The arborist is correct: If the overhanging limb from a tree in your yard crashes into an adjacent house, it is that owner's responsibility to pay for damages and clean up.
The wind blows in all directions. If a branch from your neighbor's tree fell on your head while you were raking leaves you would expect her to rush to your aid and not stand there arms folded saying, "My branch, your yard, your responsibility. Sorry."
Offer to share the cost of pruning the tree. In the long run it will be less expensive. You don't want to end up nodding to your neighbor in stony silence because your branch did happen to fall on her property and she blames you. Taking reasonable steps to make the tree safe is the prudent thing to do.
First Published August 21, 2012 12:00 am