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OPINION | DEAR ABBY: Dinner-and-drinks invite makes teetotaler uneasy

by Abigail Van Buren | December 31, 2021 at 1:00 a.m.

Dear Abby: My husband, “Dan,” and I do not consume alcohol, mostly because of our family history. Several years ago while Dan was at a work event, a consultant, “Ken,” took him and some co-workers out for dinner. Ken ordered a bottle of wine for the table. Not wanting to cause a scene, my husband drank the glass poured for him. Now Ken has invited us to join him and his wife for an evening out, and he wants to “meet early for drinks.”

I think Dan should give Ken a heads-up beforehand. Dan thinks it would be rude. We don’t care if the people we are with drink alcohol. Is there a polite way to decline? Should it be ahead of time or at the restaurant? — Respectfully Decline

Dear Respectfully: It is perfectly acceptable to refuse alcohol. For various reasons, many people don’t drink these days. If a server asks your husband what beverage he would like, your husband should state his preference — be it sparkling water, a soft drink, etc. There is no shame in it, and it isn’t rude. That the host is providing alcohol is not a mandate to indulge, particularly if the guest has a problem with it. If Ken pushes, Dan should simply tell him the two of you prefer not to drink alcohol.

Dear Abby: I am 30 weeks pregnant with my second child. I was at the park today with my 2-year-old son when an older woman smiled and asked me when I was due. When I told her, she replied, “Oh, my God. Are you sure there aren’t twins in there?” I thought her comment was appalling. I was left feeling embarrassed, angry, and on top of that, enormous!

What ever happened to “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all”? A simple “Congratulations,” or “How exciting!” would have been a far more appropriate and well-received response.

I hope that ignorant people who say things like this will read this letter and realize how hurtful their comments can be to expectant mothers. Also, how should I respond if someone else makes a similar comment? — Ten More Weeks To Go

Dear Ten More Weeks: Two responses come immediately to mind. The first would be, “Wow, that was tactless!” Or say, “Nope. It’s just one healthy baby in there.” Of course, a third option is to say nothing and walk away.

Dear Readers: I’m wishing you a happy, healthy 2022. Whew, folks! I can’t believe we made it so quickly through 2021! I will join you tonight toasting a new year that will be a less stressful year for all of us. If you are celebrating this evening, please take measures to protect not only your own health but also the safety of others.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles,CA 90069 or visit


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