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DEAR MISS MANNERS: When I graduated from school, I moved in with my parents to start saving for a home. I am so close, and am looking forward to purchasing a home in the next six months or so!

Where my struggle comes in is with my older sister, who moved back to the city shortly before I did. She makes quite a bit more than me and was able to afford a condo a short distance from my parents’ home.

The challenge is that, since I was vaccinated, I have had a pretty active social life, going out to happy hours several times a week and finding new groups to make friends. My sister, on the other hand, seems to struggle quite a bit with making friends, and instead comes over to my parents’ house for nearly nightly dinners.

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She expects to hang out with me but seems unable to plan to do so, expecting me just to be there and spend time with her so she isn’t lonely.

When I tell her I had already made plans to go out that evening, she gets upset, telling me I am ditching her — or she invites herself along (without much subtlety).

I know she is upset because she wants friends too, but I don’t feel it is my job to make friends for her, to be her only friend, nor to awkwardly take her along with me to a movie night at someone’s house where she doesn’t know anyone. Nor do I feel that is fair to the host.

In truth, some of these nights out are dates. I just tell her I am meeting a friend to avoid the gossip I know it will cause.

What am I supposed to do when she inevitably invites herself to a first date, and gets roaringly upset when I tell her it’s not my place to invite people?

GENTLE READER: “I’m afraid it’s not my event to invite you to, but let’s plan an outing soon with friends I think you’d really like.” And then, Miss Manners suggests, you find some fast.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am hosting a bridal shower for my stepdaughter. Only two children are included, and they are both in the bridal party. But an invited guest returned the response with her 5-year-old daughter’s name written on it along with hers.

How do I politely tell her not to bring her child? I feel it is unfair to all the other young girls who were not invited, along with being tacky.

GENTLE READER: “I am afraid that Lindsey is not having children at the shower; she is only inviting her young cousins because they are in the bridal party. I’m sure it would be terribly boring for Sadie anyway.”

You may then helpfully add, “Do you have a good sitter? Because I would be happy to help find one.” And then Miss Manners suggests that you keep that on file for the scores of other requests that will undoubtedly follow.

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Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website,; to her email,; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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