ASK DENISE: Dinner party etiquette in question

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Denise Harrison is a Licensed Counselor in Spruce Pine. Send questions to questionsandlettersmn@gmail.com or call and leave a message at 828-467-0037. Submissions are anonymous.
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Editor’s note: Writer’s answers do not reflect those of the Mitchell News-Journal and are not meant to replace medical or mental health care.

 

Dear Denise: Whenever I get invited to someone’s home for dinner or a party, I always ask what I should bring. 

Many times, I am told not to bring anything, so I don’t. Recently I found out a so-called friend had been talking about what a cheapskate I am because I didn’t bring anything to the last event. I would have brought something, but I was told no. I was very upset about this.  Was I wrong?

Dear Reader: There is an old saying, “with friends like that, who needs enemies?” This friend wasn’t much of one, was she? What a petty thing about which to gossip. Try not to let her bother you; you certainly didn’t do anything wrong.

As far as being told not to bring anything, there are different reasons a host may say that. 

I generally tell people not to bring anything simply because I feel it is my dinner or party, and it is my responsibility to provide for my guests since I invited them. Sometimes the host has a menu planned and doesn’t want to stray from it. Sometimes the host is just reluctant to ask for help from guests. But, if you feel bad arriving at an event without something in hand, there are alternatives. A nice bottle of wine or a pretty potted plant will show your appreciation and will not interfere with the menu. I hope this helps.

 

Dear Denise: What is the easiest way to housetrain a dog? I was always told hitting them with a newspaper or rubbing their nose in it works, but that seems mean.

Dear Reader: Those techniques are mean, and only serve to make the pup afraid. The best and most effective means to potty train a dog is with positive reinforcement. In other words, rather than punishing them when they do wrong, reward them when they do good.  

Take them outside frequently, and when they do their business, praise them lavishly and offer them a treat – dogs respond to the high-pitched tone used in praising and like it. 

When they have an accident, if you catch them in the act, you can say a stern, “no,” and take them immediately outside. Do not yell at them after the fact. They don’t understand why you are upset. Some dog parents like to crate train their dogs, working on the principle that a dog will not use the bathroom where they have to sleep. This may teach them control. With kindness and consistency, most dogs can be trained. I hope you have a long, wonderful life with your fur baby.

 

Denise Harrison is a Licensed Counselor in Spruce Pine. Send questions to questionsandlettersmn@gmail.com or call and leave a message at 828-467-0037. Submissions are anonymous.