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DEAR HARRIETTE: I kicked my friend out of my birthday party for being too rowdy, and now she expects an apology from me. I believe I am the one who deserves an apology. She was ruining my special day. She showed up drunk before the night even started and caused trouble immediately. She was so loud that my neighbors complained — twice. I warned her that if she didn’t calm down, I would have to ask her to leave, but she didn’t listen. She is now asking me to say I’m sorry for making her leave and embarrassing her. I refuse to apologize. What should I do? — Rowdy Friend
DEAR ROWDY FRIEND: The greatest gift you can give this friend is to tell her the truth about what happened and the impact her behavior had on you, your guests and neighbors. You say she was drunk, so chances are, she doesn’t clearly remember what happened at your party. Give her the blow-by-blow in vivid detail — and preferably in person. Tell her how she behaved from the moment she arrived. Do your best to paint an accurate picture of what she did, how she interacted with others and how you felt about it. Point out the multiple complaints from your neighbors. Name each of them. Make the scene as real as you can for her, so that she can see it even though she doesn’t recall the details of the evening.
Recommend that she get help. If you have ever witnessed her behave like this before, remind her of that incident. Do not apologize.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I’ve been seeing someone for a very short time. We just met a few weeks ago, and now we are dating casually. Their birthday is next week, and I’m not exactly sure what to do. It feels too soon to go all out for them and throw them a party or get them a gift. How do you celebrate the birthday of someone you are only just getting to know? — Just Met
DEAR JUST MET: What do you remember about this person that stands out? Think about what you have learned about their personality and their interests, hobbies or desires. What makes them click as far as you know this early in your relationship? You can get them a gift, but it doesn’t have to be costly. What it can be is thoughtful.
I have an example, though it’s a bit different from a date. A friend of mine was having a birthday, and I wanted to get her something she would appreciate. I know how much she likes the color gold and the fact that she writes with pencils. So I got her a package of gold pencils. She loved it. The pencils cost about $10. It truly is the thought that counts. So think about this person. Is it a date for ice cream? A walk in a nearby park? A book they have expressed interest in reading? Make it something personal — but not intimate — that shows you have been paying attention to them.