DEAR ABBY: My niece on my husband’s side was engaged to be married two years ago. There was a bridal shower, and everyone gave gifts or gift cards. Two weeks after the shower, the wedding was canceled because of the groom-to-be’s infidelities. The shower gifts and gift cards were never returned nor was anyone reimbursed.
The same niece is getting married to someone else now. Another shower is being given for her. Everyone on her side of the family is invited. Are we required to give gifts again? Can we attend the shower and not give a gift? Should we all just not attend? Please help.– ALREADY GAVE ONCE
DEAR ALREADY GAVE ONCE: Any unopened gifts from the first shower should have been returned to the givers. Because they weren’t, you are not “obligated” to give the bride another gift. However, if you plan to attend this shower, in my opinion, you should not go empty-handed.
DEAR ABBY: I have many older friends, and when we go out for lunch or dinner, all they talk about is their aches and pains and other medical stuff. I will always be their friend and support them, but sometimes it’s such a downer, they even get depressed listening to each other.
What’s the best way to change the conversation to happy subjects while being sensitive at the same time?– HAPPY SUBJECTS ONLY
DEAR HAPPY: Older people sometimes dwell on their aches, pains and other medical stuff because they have little else to occupy their minds. If you are sensitive, you will listen sympathetically for a period of time, then propose you all change the subject to something more upbeat – and SUGGEST something.