Mary Killen Mary Killen

Your problems solved | 25 February 2016

Plus: a rude response to a kind invitation; and an unconventional birth announcement

Q. Former colleagues, with whom I got on very well in the context of the office, are buying a house near my own and say they are depending on me and my husband to introduce them to ‘all’ our friends in this area. This has been giving me nightmares. Like us, our friends down here are busy with jobs and children and would not thank us for foisting on to them new neighbours who would not be on the same wavelength. It’s a sense of humour thing. We are so tired we just want to relax when socialising. But I don’t want to be unneighbourly. How can I tactfully dispel the newcomers’ presumption that we will provide some kind of springboard into a ready-made social scene?
— Name and address withheld

A. You don’t have to introduce them to your real friends. Usher them instead into a parallel local world where they will find compatible souls. Buy tickets for charity, musical or sporting events. They will have no way of knowing that the non-wavelength people you enthusiastically introduce (fellow parents at your children’s school, for example) are not your preferred friends. They will soon make firm bonds outside your set.

Q. Most people my age living in London don’t have big enough flats to give dinner parties for ten, but occasionally a kind family friend lets me have one in her house. I have been under the impression that the dinners were successful. Everyone seemed to be enjoying sitting around a table in a Georgian panelled dining room with lots of food and wine, and dancing afterwards. So I was thrown by the text I received from the couple at the top of my wish list, who have been twice before.

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