Q: My husband is very political, and around election time he becomes engrossed in news shows. He has a habit of showing his favorite political news clips to friends when they visit.
I am uncomfortable with this, as I feel our friends are too polite to decline, and they allow my husband to preach politics to them out of courtesy to the host. They are like-minded, politically speaking, and the few who aren’t are not going to be swayed by comedy news shows.
I excuse myself from the room when he begins his sermons. I have asked him to stop doing this when friends visit, but he refuses. How can I persuade him to just have “friends time” with no politics? — Politically Unmotivated
A: You can’t. You aren’t going to change your husband. Fortunately, most of your friends are politically like-minded. Those who find his entertainment to be offensive will postpone seeing you until after the election is over. So stop stressing.
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Q: Is it OK for a person who went to AA a few years ago and has gone totally alcohol-free to start having a beer every other night or even keep a bottle of vodka around to have every now and then? Or should you stay alcohol-free to be sure that this issue doesn’t happen again? — Alcohol-Free
A: For some individuals it may be possible to have an occasional drink without falling completely off the wagon, but I wouldn’t recommend it. And as to keeping a bottle of vodka around to nip into “every now and then,” I think that makes as much sense as keeping a box of chocolates in the house if someone is addicted to sweets. (And many of us are!)
Q: My sister-in-law wants to choose the gifts we give them. She doesn’t have enough manners to smile, accept a gift and say “thank you” as we were raised to do. She told us, “All those educational toys you gave my son, I donated them!” I have donated much of what she has given us, but I would never tell her that.
She’s now ordering toys and having them delivered to our home for us to wrap and give to her son. I had already bought a kaleidoscope, books, racetrack and a huge jar of little cars to use as rewards since he’s 4 and still not potty-trained. She sent us a thank-you note (the first one ever) for the gifts THEY sent us to give my nephew, but did not mention the eight items I bought! Please help me cope with this extremely rude sister-in-law. — Trying to Cope in Texas
A: I’ll try. As I see it, you have two choices: The first is to decide to “go along with the program.” The second would be to tell her she has taken all the joy out of gift-giving and, in the future, you will not be participating in the charade.
Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.