My MIL refused to let us get the idea of the potluck, saying it was sticky. It bothered me because I feel like she took something from us that we can never have.
Would the potluck reception have been a misstep as she believes, or is that acceptable?
Be invited and being a caterer are worthy activities, but different.
Miss Manners understands that your mother-in-law doesn’t want her friends and family to work, although she may have found a trickier way to express it to your wife.
That said, Miss Manners feels the need to warn newlyweds like you against using phrases like, “She took something from us that we can never have.” The desire to turn short-term grievances into long-term grudges undermines family harmony. If done indiscriminately, it may one day put you in a position to have the second marriage you’ve always dreamed of.
Dear Miss Manners: A few years ago, I made a new friend. We are both in our early sixties and have a number of things in common. Over the past few years, I’ve noticed that she sometimes lacks commitment to the plans we’ve made. Sometimes, I discover through the vineyard that she has made plans with other friends.
She asked my husband and I if we would go with her to a nearby restaurant for dinner, and together we decided the following Saturday night. Late Thursday night, she texted me asking if we could meet Friday night instead, because that’s the day she “comes back to town”.
It seems to my husband and I that she puts her plans aside when something she thinks better happens. I don’t know how to handle this. If I confront her, it could cause a break in the friendship (if I’m wrong about her reason for changing plans). Still, I feel like I can’t let this continue if I want to maintain this friendship.
Confronting her could cause a breakdown in the relationship even if you are right about his reasons for changing plans.
By ruling out such an approach, you are left with more subtle ways to change your friend’s behavior – the most obvious being to constantly discover, to your dismay, that you are not available on Friday. Eventually, your friend will realize that sticking to the plan is the only way she sees you.
Miss Manners is inspired in this case by the cat who, although explicably deaf to direct explanations of what needs to be done, learns that each time he jumps on the counter, an arm comes out of the sky and brings him back to the ground.