Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Question: Twenty-plus years ago, my husband and I used to be good friends with another couple. We grew apart over time, with different values and child-rearing philosophies. After they treated our son and me extremely rudely at a gathering about 15 years ago (not my being oversensitive, my husband agreed), we stopped seeing them.

Periodically the guy would get in touch, trying to sell things to me professionally.

About a year ago, he and my husband reconnected. They have similar musical tastes and have fun going to shows together - cool. However, the guy keeps wanting us to get together as couples.

I have absolutely no interest in doing so. By the time we originally ended the friendship, I really found them repugnant. My husband and I are both fine with things as they are, but the guy keeps asking, and it's gotten really awkward for my husband to keep putting him off.

It seems unfair that my husband has to be in this awkward position when I'm the one with the issue. So, do I suck it up and see them, or is there a good way for him to tell them that I prefer not to join in?

Answer: "I would like to continue to be friends, but my wife prefers not to join in." No?

Comment: I can relate to this from the other side, and agree with Carolyn. The husband of a friend of mine doesn't want to see me at all since something happened some time ago (details not relevant). My friend was very honest with me, and things are just fine. We simply meet without the husband and there are no hard feelings other than the husband not wanting to talk to me.

Answer: Your friend did the right thing (yes, I completely agree with me, too), but I hope you realize you helped make this work by taking the bad news like a grown-up and not making the truth-teller pay. Nicely done.

E-mail Carolyn Hax at tellme@washpost.com, or chat with her online at noon Fridays at www.washingtonpost.com.