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Friends with other plans not disloyal

DEAR MISS MANNERS: For 35 years we have celebrated Thanksgiving and Easter with close friends and their families. For some reason, starting last Easter, they don’t want to share holidays with us. They don’t go to anyone else’s house. Actually, that would be easier to take.

I am very hurt by this. I have no idea what has happened. I feel we are owed an explanation. If a man said this to a long-term girlfriend, she would assume he doesn’t want to see her anymore.

A recent email just said they are eating with their daughter and son-in-law at their retirement-home restaurant and that it would be a “different dinner for us all.”

I don’t know what that means, so I didn’t respond. We still see them regularly and they act normally, so this is a puzzle. I know I should take the high road and just ignore this. But as time goes on, I get more and more hurt and angry, and I fear that I can’t just put it behind me and I might cry when I am with them.

Is there any way that I can convey how hurt I am and find out if there is something that we have done (unclean kitchen?) that I can apologize for? If they totally cut us off, it would make more sense. But in this case, it is a very specific event. What should I do?

GENTLE READER: You should let it go and have a jolly Thanksgiving, perhaps with other friends. And you should continue, on the other days of the year, to enjoy the friendships you have always had.

Mostly, Miss Manners suggests that you stop comparing friendships to romances. Friendships are not exclusive, and it is therefore not disloyal to make other commitments. These people have not dropped you. They, or their daughter and son-in-law, could have wanted to change for any number of reasons not having to do with you.

But if your kitchen is unclean, for heaven’s sake, clean it anyway.

Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website,, or to her email, dearmissmanners@