Dear Annie: I am having a disagreement with my sister. She gets very upset when she is not invited to a party or other event. She believes she has the right to question the host's motives for creating the guest list.
My sister claims she is justified in doing this because it would avoid the hurt feelings of someone being left off of the guest list by mistake. When she phones the host to ask questions, she says, "Perhaps you inadvertently left me off of the guest list because you don't have my correct address."
She says that when a close friend or relative is not invited to something, the host should contact those people to explain why not.
I say it's rude to question the host. Sometimes the reason is financial, which would be embarrassing to explain. The people giving the party have no obligation to defend their guest list. I think if someone is not invited but wants to participate, she can send a card with congratulations or something. What do you think? - Invited/Not Invited
Dear Invited: People are left off of a guest list for any number of reasons, including the fact that they may not want to invite you. It's ridiculous to expect hosts to phone everyone they know to tell them why they are NOT being invited. By demanding an explanation under the guise of "preventing hurt feelings," your sister forces the hosts to include her whether they want to or not, which is undoubtedly her intention. Tell her to knock it off.
Anyone who truly believes she may have been left off by mistake can ask a mutual friend or relative to investigate. She also could call and say, "I heard your daughter became engaged, and I just want to offer my best wishes." Period. If there is an invitation missing, they will let her know. No explanation is required.
Dear Annie: I would like to comment on those who complain about how the media tell us we're supposed to look: buff, thin, blemish-free, etc. I understand that these portrayals can lower one's self-esteem. But the constant talk about it doesn't help.
Kids hear that so many people are self-conscious about their bodies, and it affects them. They can't develop their own opinions about how they should look. I am a 25-year-old woman and have somehow learned to appreciate my body the way it is: average. I see myself as beautiful, no matter what others may think. If people are happy with their looks, no matter what they are, we should leave them alone. This teaches us self-respect. - Loving My Average Body
Dear Loving: We agree that people are overly focused on their looks, partly because the media promote unattainable "perfection," and the rest of us can't help but absorb the message. Overweight or awkward kids are often bullied because of their appearance. Parents should teach their children to make healthy choices, but it is difficult to ignore all of the social messages that surround us. It takes a wise upbringing and a certain strength of character to be convinced that how you look is just fine, which, of course, is the truth. Good for you.
Dear Annie: You gave a great answer to "Spinning the Wheel in Pennsylvania," whose wife and daughter want to hold back the granddaughter so she will be in the same class as her less academically advanced cousin.
I have several children and grandchildren, and I work for a school district. I have seen firsthand the damage that can be done to a child either by holding them back or pushing them ahead before they are ready. The only one to decide what the children will do is their parents. Aunts, uncles and grandparents should stay out of it. That boy will bloom with age. - Seen What Happens in California
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.