Best Behavior Hero 3

Separation Anxiety

A friend of mine is throwing a party for herself. That seems odd enough, but she’s throwing it to celebrate her divorce. She’s inviting a group of her single women friends, including me, and some of her single men friends too. She says that she doesn’t want to be left alone now that the divorce is final. That makes sense, but her ex-husband and I are still close. And a lot of other people on her list are close to him too. I said I wasn’t going to choose sides after the couple split. So what do I do?Anonymous, Brentwood

You don’t have to go to the party, but when you don’t show up, it will look like you’re making a choice. And that’s precisely what you’ll be doing, even if you claim a cold or a dose of the latest COVID variant. The newly free-and-available self-hostess is doing an enviable job of painting you — and apparently everybody else she knows — into a corner. Maybe she assumes that the makeup of her guest list will get back to her ex. But if you want to stay friendly with both sides of the ex-couple, you don’t want to cut her off with no explanation. Be straightforward. Go ahead and give her a call, not an email or an Instagram DM. Explain to her that showing up will make you feel uncomfortable. She may — or may not —take your explanation at face value. If you do show up, you may see a few friends, make a dinner date or two, and maybe share a phone number here and there. If the speeches of congratulations start, head for the door. Play it safe in this game and keep your distance, at least for a while. Of course, you don’t have to be in contact with the ex, either. I bet his life will go on, with no celebrations.

Over and Done

It drives me crazy in restaurants when the server looks down at my clean plate and says, “Boy, looks like everything was good,” or even worse, “Glad you didn’t like that.” Worst of all is “Are you still workin’ on that?” It happens way too often, and I don’t like the insinuation. I’d like a quick comeback, but maybe I’m being overly sensitive?Anonymous, Hillwood

That’s what happens when you dine at the finest of restaurants. The servers’ standard repartee, wherever it comes from, seems to be on the menu any time “sweet or unsweet?” is the question of the day. The servers may think they’re clever, or they may be fishing for a compliment or hoping you’ll up your tip, although none of those seem likely options. They’re probably just trying to move you along to the cashier’s counter at the front door (there’s sure to be one there). Who knows if any insinuation is involved? If your plate is empty, it’s empty. There’s no reason to get into the high fun of the moment or get yourself into high dudgeon. Your quick response might be, “I’m done. How about the bill?” It’s probably in their back pocket already.