Q: A relative I don't particularly like has a pattern: He gets a girlfriend pregnant, announces how thrilled he is to be a father, then breaks up with the girlfriend before the baby is a year old and has little or no contact with the ex or child going forward.
He has done this twice, and now a third girlfriend is pregnant.
Members of my family are doing things like baby showers, and I'm not sure I want to participate.
I mentioned to another relative that I might not attend the shower because of these reservations, and the relative said I was being judgmental.
Do you agree? Do you think I should suck it up, attend the shower and treat it as a happy occasion?
Another Baby Coming
A: Conscientious objectors are technically judgmental about war, no? But it's accepted that Quakers, say, protest war out of a deep sense of duty.
So, yes, you can be a conscientious objector to the baby showers celebrating an established deadbeat dad.
I do feel for these poor kids, though. Maybe you can get your family to channel their enthusiasm into 529s or other future-minded investment vehicles that go directly to the kids?
The broken record technique has its place
Q: I was always taught that the proper response to an invitation is either to say you will attend or will not attend, without an explanation of the reasons.
However, I have noticed that people usually ask me why I can't make it if I simply say, "I'm sorry I can't make it." Do I need to give an explanation? Or could I just repeat, "I can't make it" until they stop asking?
I Can't Make It
A: Sure. Or, "I have a conflict, I'm sorry."
It's the same thing as "I can't make it," but in different words.