Asking about baby's presence should lead to straight answers
Q: As the first in our immediate group to have a baby, I'm left wondering about proper protocol on when to bring him along. I've tried to just guess and been wrong about preferences in every way. I often email and ask, but is there a better way to handle it?
First Friend with Baby
A: "Should I bring the baby, or call a sitter?" That suggests you're fine with either option, where, "Okay if I bring the baby?" sounds like a preference and might come across as pressure.
You might be misunderstood from time-to-time, or told what people think you want to hear versus the truth, but if overall you're respectful of hosts'/organizers' wishes, you'll get a straight answer.
Enjoy each other's company to placate brother's decisions
Q: My husband doesn't know yet, but he's not invited to my brother's bachelor party. I think it's hurtful, but my brother is, in general, not a kind person, so it wasn't really a surprise. My brother was invited, and did attend, my husband's bachelor party, and he was even in our wedding party. I was not invited to be in his. Any thoughts/advice on how to break the news to my husband?
Not Invited to Bachelor Party
A: Exclusion stings at any age, I get it, and the first peek behind a facade you thought was a family can be agony. As such, I expect this will hurt you more than it does your husband.
Frame it accordingly: "Well, Pookie, it's a sweep — I'm not in Brother's wedding and apparently you're out of the bachelor party. In retrospect, I should have seen it coming. I'm sorry.
"What do you say — a nice dinner out tonight?"