Ask Amy: Bride wants a withdrawal from the Bank of Uncle Dave

Dear Amy: Four months before my daughter’s wedding, she told me that her uncle (my brother, “Dave”) would make her feel unsafe if he was a guest. She asked me not to invite him.

My daughter is very politically progressive, as are many of her friends, and although she and Dave have always had a good relationship (I thought), he is a conservative voter and has supported candidates we all abhor.

Dave has always been very nice, so my daughter’s request surprised me.

I wrote Dave a very nice note, telling him that we would not be comfortable with him at the wedding and that he would not be invited.

Dave did not respond and did not attend.

Afterward, I sent him a card and pictures from the wedding, all in an effort to make him feel like he was not being totally left out.

I have not heard from Dave since then. When my siblings found out what I had done they were angry with me.

That is just one problem.

Another problem is that Dave has not sent my daughter and son-in-law a wedding gift.

In the past, Dave has given family members wedding checks in excess of $1,000.

She says she was counting on receiving the same type of gift.

My husband says I should drop it — but I can’t. Dave’s behavior is upsetting and embarrassing to me.

How can I get my brother to recognize and change his petty behavior?

Please don’t tell me that I’m the one who started this by not inviting my brother to the wedding. After all, he’s a grown man, while my daughter is young and just starting out.

— Angry in Philadelphia

Dear Angry: Let’s recap: Your delicate daughter is too frightened to be near a conservative voter to allow her uncle “Dave” to attend her wedding.

She then asks you to do her dirty work for her, and (of course) you do!

Fine — so far, we have only a bride’s prerogative to create her own guest list, and her mother’s choice to protect her from any consequences, which is your prerogative.

You then rub the excluded guest’s nose in this wedding by sending him photos of the event to which he has pointedly not been invited.

But it’s your second “problem” which I believe will enter the Bridezilla Hall of Infamy.

In short: Brides who are too afraid of family members to invite them to a family wedding don’t then get the pleasure of receiving their money.

You seem almost as afraid of your daughter as she is of your brother, but I hope you’ll find a way to courageously tell her that the Bank of Uncle Dave is closed, at least to your branch of the family.

So far, your silent brother is the only family member who is behaving appropriately. He’s steering clear, which is exactly what you have asked him to do.

Dear Amy: I play the guitar passably well, and enjoy making music in my free time.

I am a member of a large, generous, and expansive family. We enjoy our summertime gatherings.

This may seem like a minor issue, but at every gathering I am asked to perform — usually in the background while others mingle.

I really and truly do not want to do this, but I have trouble saying no to these very nice and supportive people, including my parents, who did pay for my music lessons back in the day.

Your suggestion?

— Picking but not Grinning

Dear Picking: I suggest leaving your guitar at home and bringing a portable speaker with you, instead.

When this request is made, pat your pockets and say, “I’ve left my guitar at home — but here, if you all want, I can play some recordings I’ve made.”

Dear Amy: I’m late responding to the discussion of why some people don’t respond to a friendly “hello” on the street, but part of the reason people might not respond is because we don’t hear them!

I’ve got noise-canceling earbuds, and when I’m out and about I’m almost always listening to something.

There have been a couple of times when my hair was hiding my ears and I didn’t notice someone was speaking to me.

I’m sure they thought I was being rude until I took my earbuds out.

— Allison

Dear Allison: A plausible explanation — and I must point out that wearing earbuds presents a safety risk to you. If you can’t hear greetings, you also can’t hear warnings, squealing tires, or people approaching you from behind.

(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

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