Dear Alma,

A colleague has invited me to her bridal shower, but so far I’ve received no invitation to the wedding. I’ve known for about six months that the wedding would be out of state at a resort. Her family has groused about it being so far away. I doubt a wedding invite is forthcoming. She is not a young street urchin. She’s a seasoned professional. She is aware of social etiquette. Am I really supposed to hop to a bridal shower with gift without an invite to the main event?

— Uninvited

Dear Uninvited,

Oh, my sweetness, did you say “street urchin?” LMBO, I am on the floor! I must admit, my brain is split down the middle on this one. On one side, it sounds like you’re offended, and if we were following the dictates of social etiquette, yes, you would be right. If you receive an invitation to the bridal shower, you should also receive an invitation to the wedding. Then again, there are always exceptions, like if the person is a colleague and you never spend time together outside of work. Most times the employees agree to throw a shower or take up a collection for a gift. Now the other side of my brain is thinking, especially in this economy, that you should be glad your colleague didn’t invite you to her destination wedding. Along with her gift, you’d be forking up airfare, hotel charges, plus related expenses – for someone who isn’t your sister, best friend, college roommate or first cousin. I’d suggest you go to the shower, yes, with an affordable gift in hand and have a great time. Anybody who uses “street urchin” in a sentence is clearly, long overdue for a vacation.

— Alma



Dear Alma,

My girlfriend and I have been together six months. I enjoy our relationship, except for one problem: She thinks I might be attracted to her sister, even though I’m not. They live together, so that makes this situation crazy. They fuss and fight when I visit, so now I’m not allowed to talk to her sister or be in the same room with her. My girlfriend has been hurt by her sister before, and that is where this comes from. I would never hurt my girl like that. What can I do to help her get over this?

— Not interested

Dear Not Interested,

Hey now, sounds to me like those sisters have a boatload of unresolved issues, and you’ve landed smack dab in the middle of their madness. My first instinct is to tell you to keep it moving and not waste any more of your time. This is not your problem to fix. As unimpressed by her (and her sister) as I am, your email is tugging at my heartstrings. I can tell you must be serious since you’re searching for peace and relief inside this storm of distrust. I think it’s sweet you wanna smooth things over with your new boo, but you know how we do here at Ask Alma – the truth has gotta be told.

You’ve got a hot mess on your plate, baby boy. If both women are knee deep naked in wicked amour and attitude, you may be fighting an endless mêlée you can’t win. That being said, my minds eye’s telling me you can’t let go without giving it your best shot, so let’s get started. Have a conversation with your girlfriend about trust. Remind her that your relationship won’t last without it. Tell her you trust her and that she should trust you, unless you give her reasons not to. The trust she has for you should be based solely on your actions, not the actions of a boyfriend from her past. Discuss what’s necessary for her to shed her excess baggage, duffel bags, trash bags; sorry, I got caught up. You feeling me? Otherwise, you’ll have to leave her living in yesterday. I’m gonna close my eyes, throw a penny in a pond, wishing you’re not wasting your time. When it comes to love, life’s too short to knock out a window just to get in the house. Heaven knows good love opens the front door…wide, welcoming and wholehearted.

— Alma

I snapped at my


Dear Alma,

We were at my niece’s 5th birthday party. I’m pregnant, and it has not been easy. My MIL [mother-in-law] arrived and started greeting everybody. Then she asks how “baby Orlando” is doing. I didn’t answer her because we have not picked out a name for our baby. She started calling my unborn son by her father’s name about a month ago. This time, I had decided enough was enough. I snapped and told her that wasn’t his name and we would let her know when we had one. Then I left the room before I said something I would really regret. I know that the tone of voice I used was not the best, but I still can’t get over what happened next. My MIL left. She didn’t say goodbye to anyone; she just got in her car and left. She made me feel guilty for the rest of the party. Was there something I could have done better, or should I just chalk the whole situation up to my MIL’s a control freak?

— Sherry, Olney, Md.

Hi Sherry,

Ahhh, maybe something else happened that you failed to mention, because from what I’ve read, Miss Do Right – you did wrong. Ok, so your MIL has pre-named her grand baby. So what? It’s just a nickname and all in fun, I’m sure. Why are you so mad about that? You and your husband will have the final say. We’ve got hungry children in Africa, and this has you all tied in a knot. TBT, you delivered a stinger Mz. Mommie to Bee! You insulted your MIL at the party in front of everybody, and for no good reason. She didn’t make you feel guilty; that was your conscience trying to have a conversation with you, but you weren’t listening. Call your MIL and apologize –now. Let her know your hormones have been all over the place lately. Ask her over for tea, out to lunch, shopping or whatever. Fix this before baby boy is born. There’s too much joy ahead for you and your family to let this foolishness block your blessings.

— Alma

Financing a friend’s cruise

Dear Alma,

A coworker and I planned a cruise vacation. We had become really good friends over the past year. We agreed that I would put the cruise on my credit card and she would pay me back biweekly. She was recently in a horrible car accident that left her with head and back injuries. She will probably never walk again. Since she had her accident, I’m not getting my money. She still owes me $1,000. I don’t think her family knows about our financial arrangement. We’re both single, no kids. How do I ask her mom to pay me back my money? I’m in my 20s and I need my money to pay back my student loans.

MLP, Chicago

Dear MLP,

Are you kidding me? You should thank God it wasn’t you and let it go. Because of her accident, your friend may never pay you back, and that’s ok. She has gone through a horrible experience, and she now needs your patience and understanding. It’s not like she went to a casino and gambled your money away. Take ah half ah minute, not a whole one, just ah half, and think about her. That’s hard, I’m sure, since you are used to thinking only of yourself. Keep on living; life lessons will redirect you. Instead of looking for dollars, express compassion, sympathy and kindness toward your friend. Within a year, you’ll undoubtedly spend that much money on your hair, nails and high-heeled shoes…that hurt your feet. Ok, let’s not go there. If the cruise date hasn’t passed, ask someone else to travel with you. Knock $100 off the asking price and call it a day. Stay in touch with your friend. Sit with her, read to her and listen to her favorite music. The more you pour into her, blessings will be returned to you…in good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over. Allow your friends debt to be erased. Consider it paid in full. In this teachable life lesson, you have a choice. I hope you’ll choose to let it go and grow.


Alma Gill’s newsroom experience spans more than 25 years, including various roles at USA Today, Newsday and the Washington Post. Email questions to: Follow her on Facebook at “Ask Alma” and twitter @almaaskalma

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