Q. We often invite a lonesome widower friend to dinner. We like him a lot, and we also liked his wife a lot. The four of us did a lot of socializing before she passed away. The problem we are having is that he likes to stay and stay to talk after dinner. We both still work. We don't want to be rude to him, so how do we tell him it is time for him to go home?
A. Polite honesty is always the best, and you and your husband have known him long enough to politely explain to him that you "are so glad he could come for dinner and spend time with you, but we need to get to bed to be bright-eyed and ready to go to work in the morning."
Get up from the couch or dining room chair as you are telling him this. Walk to get his coat and bring it to him as you head for the door.
Then be sure to tell him you will be calling to invite him to dinner again soon, or to go out to dinner or if you already have an event coming up to which you want to take him -- a movie you have talked about seeing or a sporting event, for examples. Then solidfy the pick-up time or a time and place to meet.
Remind him to call you if he needs anything.
Q. One of the girls in our single girls' group recently broke up with her serious boyfriend. She won't go out with us and she doesn't want to do much talking on the phone. She won't admit it, but we think she is waiting for him to call her or knock on the door.
She always asks us if we have seen him or ran into him when we were out at some of our local haunts. So far we have always said no, but we have seen him a couple of times recently with another girl. We don't know who she is, but should we tell our girlfriend the next time she asks?
We really don't want to get into the middle of anything, yet we don't want to see her waiting for him to come back.
A. To continue to lie to your friend is not going to help her face the sad fact of losing her boyfriend. As awkward and painful as it may seem, telling her the truth may help her face the facts and get on with her life. Being with her girlfriends again and knowing they care enough about her to be honest with her, will also help.
Q. What are some appropriate confirmation gift ideas for a boy? We don't want to give money, and we don't want to give something that will wind up in a junk drawer. We want it to be something reflective of the event which he will cherish and always remember who gave it to him.
A. I agree that gifts of money for any occasion often do not present lasting, loving memories of the event or the givers. I also agree that finding just the right gift for boys for special events is difficult.
Here are some gift ideas you might want to consider:
Dark leather necklace or bracelet with a lead-free engraved pewter or sterling or silver- plated cross. The boy's name or initials can be engraved on it or the date of the confirmation. Or, perhaps it is a cross that already has a more masculine scroll engraving or religious etchings. Boys and young men seem to enjoy wearing gifts like these.
An engraved pewter or wooden valet box or keepsake box. Again, engraving choices may be the date of the confirmation, his name or initials, a cross or a Bible verse. Either would be an everlasting gift.
A pewter or wooden wall cross. This item can also include engraving on the cross itself or on a plate that can be adhered to the cross.
A leather-bound Bible, or prayer book with his name and confirmation date engraved in gold on the front.
A leather key ring with an engraved pewter cross.
Dianne Isbell is a local contributing writer. Send your etiquette questions to Lifestyle Editor Pat Kuhl, Belleville News-Democrat, P.O. Box 427, 120 S. Illinois St., Belleville, IL 62222-0427.