Sisterly snag: a party predicament

Dear Annie: My sister “Emily” and I were planning a joint celebration for our parents’ 40th wedding anniversary, but we’ve hit a snag. Emily wants to host a large party with all of our extended family and friends, but I think that a more intimate gathering would be more special and less stressful for our parents. They are both pretty reserved, and I just know they would prefer something smaller.

Every time I try to discuss this with Emily, it ends in an argument and she accuses me of not wanting to do something “all-out” for our parents. Every time I try to explain my reasoning to her, it doesn’t seem like she hears me. How can I communicate to Emily that a small celebration isn’t about cutting corners but honoring our parents’ preferences? — Caught in the Middle in Michigan

Dear Caught in the Middle: Sit down with Emily and tell her that you understand her desire to celebrate this milestone in a big way. Then shift to emphasizing your parents’ character and preferences; it would be helpful if you could provide some examples, too. Propose a compromise by suggesting ways to make a smaller gathering feel special, like a beautiful venue, catered food or a professional photographer.

Dear Annie: I have a very dear friend who I adore greatly, and I would never want to hurt her feelings. For about a month now, I’ve noticed she has a rather large hair growing on her chin. I notice it, so I am sure others do also. I can’t believe her husband has not pointed it out.

The obvious question is, should I tell her? The last thing I want to do is embarrass her or otherwise make her feel bad. I would want someone to tell me. I have even given my husband firm instructions to inform me if I am ever in such a situation. Any advice? — Hairy Situation

Dear Hairy: Conversations that concern appearance require a delicate touch. Since this issue is clearly bothering you, and you value honesty in your own life, it seems reasonable to extend the same courtesy to your friend.

When you choose to bring it up, do so gently and in private. A lighthearted approach can ease the potential awkwardness. You might say something like, “I want to mention this because I care about you and I know you’d do the same for me. I’ve noticed a stray hair on your chin — just wanted to let you know because these things can be hard to spot ourselves!” This way, you’re framing it as a small, easily solvable issue rather than a significant flaw. By emphasizing the reciprocity of your actions — that you’d want her to do the same for you — you help to highlight trust and respect in your friendship.

Remember, her reaction might vary depending on her feelings about her appearance, but your kind and thoughtful approach will show that your intent is purely out of care.

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“How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?” is out now! Annie Lane’s second anthology — featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.


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