Bitter Rivals

"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.  Parents want to attend a municipal wedding, someone wants to know how to interact with someone they despise, another person meddles in the personal affairs of other families, and a woman cannot deal with living in an apartment building.

You Can’t Fight City Hall, Nor Fight About a Wedding There

Our son is marrying a terrific woman this summer in Italy.  The legal ceremony will be held here at City Hall the week before.  The bride’s parents live elsewhere and are flying directly to Italy, so they won’t be at City Hall.  Our son asked us if going to City Hall is important to us.  His fiancée doesn’t think it’s “fair” for us to attend if her parents can’t.  I told him we’d love to be there, but we don’t want to create an incident.  His fiancée held her ground.  We feel sad about this.  Anything to be done?


Nope.  And quite frankly, you do not want to attend the bureaucratic morass where "City Hall" weddings take place.  Thank her in advance for keeping you out.  You should be jumping for joy right now instead of drafting letters for advice.

Anxious to Make Up

Several years ago, I had a falling out with a close friend.  He did something that showed he had little respect for my feelings.  I withdrew, and he made no effort to put things right.  We never had another conversation.  But lately, I’ve been dreading the possibility of running into him.  How should I handle a chance meeting and my anxiety?


Just acknowledge each other and move on.

No Gaydar Bragging

I have a friend whose 15-year-old son seems gay to me.  He doesn’t date, and my gaydar is usually on target.  I hate to meddle.  But this friend also has a habit of saying derogatory things about gay people, often under cover of her religious beliefs.  Can I tell her about her son?  It may stop her hurtful behavior.


It doesn't sound like you "hate to meddle" to me.  If you did, you'd mind your own business.

Just Be Kind

I am in my 20s and just moved into a new apartment.  I love it!  The only problem: My next-door neighbor is ancient.  She lives alone and clearly doesn’t get out much.  When I come home, it seems as if she’s always waiting for me.  She sticks her head out the door and asks how my day was or says that I look nice.  This annoys me.  I just want to get inside.  How do I stop these little exchanges?


Welcome to life in an apartment building.  If you do not like this, move to the woods.


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