Being a Baby about Seeing a Baby

"Social Q's" is Philip Galanes's advice column in the New York Times.  Every Tuesday in Anti-Social Q's, I will answer the same questions as "Social Q's," with a greater regard for the sad state of the human condition.

This week Philip deals with a variety of issues.  Someone wants to inform people that they may not be able to visit when accepting an invitation, someone in debt keeps digging a deeper hole, grandparents want people who are practically strangers to meet their grandchild, and someone wants to move to the Midwest because they would look relatively thin.

When Asked to Dinner, Can You Say ‘Maybe’?

I am a social person who plans ahead and follows through on my commitments.  If I say I’m coming to dinner, I come.  But I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that causes pain and serious fatigue.  My symptoms are not predictable, so sometimes I have to cancel at the last minute.  Is it rude to explain to friends, when accepting invitations, that my health may keep me from their dinners?  My wife thinks mentioning illness outside of immediate family is bad form.  But if I can’t give a qualified yes, I don’t think I should accept.  Thoughts?


You are in the right on this one.

Something Borrowed?

Please settle a fight with my mother.  I am 25 and self-supporting — though I have fallen behind on my credit card and student loan payments.  I have been invited to a childhood friend’s wedding.  She is the first in our group to marry, and I am super-psyched about it.  It feels like a big milestone.  I want to buy a special dress for the occasion that costs $400.  My mother thinks this is irresponsible.  Your thoughts?


You are not self-supporting if you have fallen behind on credit card and loan payments.  You are in debt and are willing to go further into it for a very silly reason.  Your mom is so right and you are so wrong but one thing we know about people like you is that you will go ahead with your stupid decision regardless and later on you will lay the blame on someone else.  People like you are a scourge on society.

Pride Goes Too Far

My son and daughter-in-law are the parents of our only grandchild.  They live 800 miles away, so my husband and I see them infrequently.  They live in the state where we grew up and maintain several friendships.  But we don’t keep up with these friends as much as we should.  Our grandchild is turning 1, and her parents are planning a celebration.  Dare I ask my son to invite our old friends who haven’t met the baby yet?  Their attendance would require some travel, but it would be a great chance for them to meet her.


So what you want to do is inconvenience everyone around you so that they could see someone they'll probably never interact with again?

Thin in the Midwest

I am a single woman in Manhattan.  I was just offered a great job in Chicago.  When I went to visit, I was struck by how thin I was there, compared with women in New York.  Is this a horrible reason to take the job?




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