Unwanted invitations arriving

Dear Annie: I read your column in my local paper, and you seem to respond in an unbiased manner, so I am turning to you for advice.

Over the past few months, I have received invitations to a 1-year-old’s birthday party, a graduation and a wedding reception (not the wedding). In each case, the inviter was an acquittance whom I know casually. I don’t consider any of them to be a close friend, especially the graduate, whom I am “friends” with on social media but haven’t seen or spoken to in over a year and a half.

All of the invitations were sent electronically. I am wondering whether the new world of technology has cheapened the tradition of celebrations. I can’t help but feel that the invitations were not sincere and I was just included on mass lists of invitees gathered from social media. Receiving them has made me feel used, in a way.

I do not plan on attending any of the events. The dilemma I am facing is whether to send gifts. I was always taught that if I receive an invitation to an event, I should give a present even if I am unable to attend. However, I am confused about what is expected in situations such as these.

I want to do the right thing but not feel taken advantage of. — Unsure in Texas

Dear Unsure: An invitation is not an obligation. That goes for both gifts and attendance. You should worry about buying a gift only if you’re going to attend, and you should attend only if you truly care to. If not, sending your regrets and best wishes is more than sufficient.

Dear Annie: How do I tell a guy I just started dating that I can’t stand his mustache? First of all, it is not attractive at all. Then there is the matter of how, when he kisses me, it feels like sharp spikes going into my skin. I have dated and kissed other guys with mustaches and did not feel the same discomfort, so I’m not sure what the deal is.

I like him and enjoy his company. I don’t want to hurt his feelings. What can I do? — ‘Stache-Scratched

Dear ‘Stache-Scratched: Speak up in behalf of your upper lip. After all, it would be hurtful to your new boyfriend if you wriggled away whenever he went in for a kiss and he didn’t know why. There are plenty of remedies he could try — such as trimming less often and softening it with conditioner or coconut oil — short of shaving his mustache. Although you’d prefer he just shave it because you don’t like the way it looks, that’s not your call. To insist that a partner change his or her appearance is to be controlling. You can politely make your feelings known. (For example, you could say, “I would love to see you without a mustache. I bet you’d look even handsomer.”) But ultimately, it’s up to him. Who knows? With time, the mustache might actually grow on you.

Editor’s note: “Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — 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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