Dear Amy: I am a member of a dining club with hundreds of members. Two years ago I had a luncheon at my house and had a disagreement over a food- related issue. Another woman started screaming at me, ruining the mood of the luncheon. I dropped out of the luncheon group and spent the last year avoiding her. I hear that she does not think there is a problem between us, but I do.
I am still in the dinner group and am about to host an elegant dinner. That woman is now president of the club, and I expect she will attend my party.
I don't think I can stop this woman from coming to this event, but I am very concerned about the risk of her ruining it for me (if not for others).
I think it is OK if she attends, as long as she stays out of my way. But because each guest brings a dish, this brings her into my kitchen, and I know I will need to interact with her.
I don't know how to do it graciously and most of all, safely.
— Another Amy
Dear Another: Two years after the fact, it would be tough to bring up the prior incident without revealing how much power this person took from you by behaving poorly in your home.
The way to respond to her graciously is to be gracious.
If possible, you could assign another guest to deal with her if she comes into the kitchen (lessening your contact). Otherwise, you should be cordial.
You should assume she won't cause a problem, but if she does, you will have to take your power back, ask her to lower her voice and (if she is in the kitchen) tell her, "I think you need to step into the dining room. I'll take things from here." Stay calm.
Dear Amy: The letter from the friend of the young woman who said "like" in every sentence reminded me of a wonderful act of kindness by a colleague decades ago.
After I made a presentation at a meeting, I received an audio tape from the head of the organization. The tape revealed that, in spite of my complete command of my subject, I sounded absolutely stupid because I was interjecting "um" every few words!
It is a hard habit to break, but completely worth the effort. I have been forever grateful to the person who sent me the tape, and I told him so at the time. He was too polite to acknowledge that had been his purpose!
— Kathy B.
Dear Kathy: I "like" it!
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