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: 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: Last week, I was in my college's cafe, minding my own business and studying for a test. I looked toward a group of guys that hang out there and made eye contact with a guy friend I've known since preschool. He made his way to my table, sat down and we started talking about classes and whatnot. Suddenly, he changed the subject and asked me if I was seeing anyone. I said no, and he blurted out that he's in love with me! He said he has loved me for a very long time, that I am perfect in his eyes, and that I'm too harsh and doubt myself. Then he said he wants me to give him a chance.
The thing is, I don't like him that way and never have. He's not the type of guy I'm attracted to. How do I go about rejecting him without losing him as a friend? -- FRIEND ZONE IN WASHINGTON STATE
DEAR FRIEND ZONE: Tell him the truth -- that you like him, too, but only as a friend, and hope he will find someone soon who can reciprocate his romantic feelings. He may not like the message, but he will respect you for your honesty and for not wasting his time.
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.
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