You and your grown son see each other frequently and talk just about every week. That means there’s a lot of affection between the two of you, but maybe it’s getting a bit suffocating for your son. Of course that stray email hurt, but it hardly means your son wants you out of his life. It's likely he was telling the truth—that whatever he and his girlfriend had planned had to be scrapped because of your visit. It would have been better for you to have sent the email back with a deadpan, “Glad to hear you’re looking forward to my visit.” Then your son would have apologized, you two would have had a laugh, and he probably would have been a very attentive host. He still should apologize, but to get past this impasse, be the one to say you've blown this out of proportion and would like to drop it. Tell him you want to reschedule your visit, but only for a time that's really convenient and definitely not "Arg."
A friend has been organizing her 24th birthday "weekend." There will be a big party Friday night at a bar with about 40 friends, followed by a girls’ night on Saturday at a sketchy bar for dancing. She informed me that she would crash at my apartment Saturday since it's walking distance from the bar, and she'll be too drunk to drive. (She drinks a lot, and occasionally I end up being her baby-sitter.) My boyfriend and I can see each other only on the weekend, and I’m not comfortable going to the bar my friend picked. I asked her whether it would be OK if my boyfriend and a few of our guy friends joined us on Saturday. She got all pouty and told our other friends about my suggestion. They said I was wrong because it was her birthday and she should get to celebrate how she wants. I can't even back out now since she's staying at my place. Was I way out of line asking whether boys could come to girls’ night?
—It’s Her Party
I assume that when the queen of England turns 90 she will get an entire birthday weekend, and I won’t begrudge her. But for people in their 20s, give me a break. It’s fine for your friend to throw herself a celebration and it sounds as if many of your gang are looking forward to this 48-hour bacchanal. But it’s not a command performance, and if you’re uncomfortable with a venue, give your regrets about Saturday. You’ll just have to miss fun activities your friend is planning, like the “wipe the vomit off my shoes” game. If she’s the kind of person who thinks a good time is making you responsible for her safety while she loses control of her faculties, that's another reason. Tell her she’s welcome to crash at your place at the end of the night, and you’ll be listening for her knock.