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Annie’s Mailbox: Remind family of open invitation

Marcy Sugar and Kathy Mitchell Creators Syndicate

Dear Annie: May I make a suggestion regarding invitations? Please don’t extend an invitation once by saying, “You’re always welcome at our house for Thanksgiving” and then never repeat it any other year.

My sister used to complain because my brother never came for Thanksgiving. He told me he was waiting for an invitation. She said everyone in the family knows that they are always welcome. But not everyone feels comfortable with that. – J.

Dear J.: Our condolences. We know your sister meant well, and your brother seems to be more formal about these things than she realized. Many family members have open invitations and use them. (And some have no invitations at all, but still pop in for holiday meals.) It all boils down to effective communication. If you want someone to know they are always welcome, you have to make sure they understand and believe you.

Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Joan in California,” who said her overnight guests were gluten intolerant and didn’t tell her until after they arrived.

I, too, have celiac disease and can’t have gluten. When I was first diagnosed, I didn’t feel comfortable accepting invitations for meals. Now I say, “I would love to come, but before I accept, I need to let you know that I am gluten sensitive.” The menu can be discussed, and you can offer to bring something. Any overnight guest should be expected to provide the essentials needed for a couple of days.

What “Joan” should have said to her guest was, “I wish I had known this ahead of time. Unfortunately, I didn’t plan the menu to accommodate you. We can discuss my plans over the next couple of days, and tomorrow I will take you to the store so you can pick up what you need.”

The guest was inconsiderate for not letting the host know ahead of time. – Someone Who Is Considerate

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