Dear Amy: My girlfriend is great. Her parents are very prosperous. Whenever we go out to dinner, my girlfriend's father lunges for the check and won't let us pay. I swear I try to get it but don't want to create a scene.
I appreciate this generosity, but it makes me a little uncomfortable. I hate that I'm not paying my way. We're young and haven't quite struck it rich, but I could certainly afford to treat a meal here or there.
Given that I am being prevented from demonstrating my generosity, I'm wondering what you would think about sending them a thank-you note along with a token of my appreciation. Would a gift card be appropriate? I'm not sure how this would come off, but I can't think of anything else to do.
— Grateful Boyfriend
Dear Grateful: I love your issue because you give me the opportunity to fly the flag for all the under-recognized people out there who actually want to demonstrate their generosity and gratitude.
Mainly, my in-box contains gripes and complaints about ungrateful guttersnipes who run for the restroom as soon as the check arrives. But let me describe the other side of this issue. For many parents, picking up the check provides a little jolt of joy. It tells us we've made it in life and are able to be expansive. Continue to reach for the check but don't steal dad's thunder.
There are many ways to reciprocate other than treating at a restaurant. You and your girl could get tickets to the theater or a concert for her folks. If that isn't affordable, you could cook them a dinner at one of your homes. If you are available and so inclined, you could also volunteer for a "chore day" at their house. (You'd earn my undying gratitude if you'd grab a ladder and clean out my gutters. They might have a similar reaction.)
Do send a thank-you note (but not a gift card). And let me send you an Ask Amy Good Conduct Medal for "services becoming a young person."
Dear Amy: When is it appropriate to stop giving gifts to grandchildren? We give each of our 16 grandchildren money for birthdays and Christmas. Several have graduated college, some are in college and high school, and there are four under 16.
I don't want to appear selfish and it is not a hardship yet, but because of the ages of the older kids, they will be getting married and will be adding to the family.
My concern is that some could use a little assistance and look forward to the check. Their parents think we should discontinue giving monetary gifts to them and their children for Christmas and birthdays.
Dear Grandma: Respect their parents' wishes and discontinue giving monetary gifts to your grandchildren once they have graduated from college.
Save what money you would have given during these annual occasions and (if you are able and still want to give) present them with a larger gift on the occasion of a marriage, the birth of a child or a similar milestone event.
You sound like generous grandparents. Never forget that the best gift to family members is your attention and affection.
Dear Amy: "Not so Blushing Bride" wasn't crazy about the idea of her future father-in-law (a clergyman) officiating at her wedding. In addition to other issues, she was a Catholic and he's a Protestant.
I'm a "preacher's kid" and faced the same dilemma many years ago when I got married. I thought your advice was great. We compromised and had both faiths represented at our wedding, and my dad had his day in the sun too.
— Still Married
Dear Married: "Dad's day in the sun" speaks to one of "Blushing's" concerns. The ceremony should be about the couple.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun