DEAR ABBY: My mother-in-law sent my 7-year-old son a gift and a card for his birthday. They arrived about a week early. A few days before his birthday, she called and asked if he had received them. He said he had, but before he could explain that he hadn't opened them, she started talking about the gift inside, revealing the surprise.
I have now "heard" she's upset with me and my son for this awkward moment. She says that from now on she would like a phone call when her cards or gifts arrive, so she can "hear his enjoyment over the phone even if they arrive early." I don't think my son did anything wrong.
- Wondering in Washington
DEAR WONDERING: When the occasion is a birthday, the usual expectation is that the presents will be opened at the party. A thank-you note should be written a very short time later. Your mother-in-law may have called for reassurance that her gift had arrived. She shouldn't have revealed what it was. You did nothing wrong.
DEAR ABBY: My good friend "Derek" is in his 30s and just started his first serious relationship. He told me after a week together that she was "the One" and that he loved her. I had a party two nights ago where he introduced his new girlfriend. They spent most of the time making out like teenagers in front of everyone. Some guests were so uncomfortable they left early.
I haven't seen Derek since, and I'm not sure how to express my concerns to my friend without hurting him.
- Concerned in California
DEAR CONCERNED: It would not be rude or hurtful for you to mention to Derek that you think the girl is "great" - but the show they put on at your party made some of your other guests so uncomfortable they left early. Let's hope the "hint" is sufficient.