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Annie’s Mailbox: Tough to socialize with stingy tipper

Dear Annie: My husband and I occasionally socialize with another couple our age. The problem is, at restaurants, the husband is condescending to the wait staff, repeatedly asks for substitutions and always sends some of his food back with a complaint. In addition, he is a stingy tipper.

His wife says nothing when these things happen. But we are embarrassed by his behavior. We don’t want to humiliate them or cause a scene by being critical. What do you suggest? – A Friend of Waiters

Dear Friend: You can tell a lot about a person’s character by the way he treats the wait staff at a restaurant. If you insist on socializing with this boorish man, we suggest you avoid places where he will cause embarrassment and ill will. Go to a movie or a play, and stop briefly for a drink after. Meet for coffee. Invite them to your home if you prefer to share a meal. We think his wife will know why you no longer eat out with them, and she will inform her husband. How they choose to deal with that is up to them.

Dear Annie: I cried when I read the letter from “Hurt and Alone,” whose husband goes out drinking with his cheating friends and leaves her at home.

I, too, have been hurt and alone for years. My husband’s alcohol intake, work schedule and need to be the social center of attention have taken priority in our marriage for 20 years. My husband is the kind of guy who treats everyone to everything, so people think he’s the greatest. He’s not a raging, belligerent or violent alcoholic. He’s a successful functioning alcoholic who is an expert at excuses and turning the tables. Tell “Hurt and Alone” that she is not the only one who has spent many a night waiting for her husband to come home. I was once a self-assured, confident woman, but I’ve lost myself coping with endless lies and loneliness while trying to raise three children. – Lonely in California

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