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Dear Abby: Dinner out is unwelcome gift for couple on diets

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Dear Abby: My companion of many years and I are retired and live a few hours away from some of his family. When one of them plans a visit, she always insists on taking us out for a meal. She doesn’t ask if we would like to eat out but rather “commands” it. Then she insists on paying for the meal.

I enjoy cooking and visiting with family during and after meals. I know what our dietary restrictions are, and most restaurant meals do not meet those requirements, which include low sodium, fat and sugar and no gluten. According to my companion, I’m a good cook, and he enjoys everything I make.

I know I should say something, but what? I need a suggestion on how to deal with the situation without hurting anyone’s feelings.

— Thanks, But No Thanks

Dear TBNT: This relative may not mean to seem overbearing and may only be trying to be nice. Thank her warmly for wanting to take you to dinner, but tell her no. Explain that because of medical reasons, both of you must strictly limit the sodium, fat, sugar and gluten in your diet, which is why the two of you have decided it is “safer” to eat at home, where you can control what goes into your food. Then invite her to join you because you would love to see her and spend time with her while she’s in town.

Dear Abby: I agreed to pay for a cellphone for a friend’s daughter while she went to school in the U.S. She was supposed to be here for three years. WELL, it is now year four, and she’s planning to stay here after graduation. How do I tell her that I am not willing to continue paying for her phone after graduation?

— Tried to Help in Texas

Dear Tried To Help:

You have several choices. You can tell her parents, write to her or call her on the cellphone you have so generously underwritten. And after you deliver the message, you should be thanked for your generosity not only by her but also her parents.

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