Happy homebody would rather skip weeknight get-togethers

DEAR ABBY: I'm struggling with a situation with my friends and colleagues.

I have a routine I stick to which keeps my priorities in check. I get done with work, go home, have dinner, work out and spend quality time with my puppy. Lately, people keep inviting me to weeknight happy hours and get-togethers, but more often than not, I don't want to go.

I'm conflicted because I feel obligated to go and be a "good friend," but if I do, I'm left feeling resentful because my routine has been interrupted. I'm also not one of those people who WANTS to be invited to everything and truly wouldn't be hurt to be excluded altogether. Please help. 

— TIME FOR MYSELF IN THE EAST

DEAR TIME: Do not socially isolate yourself completely. Explain to your close friends and colleagues that you need your routine in order to function your best, which is why, although you would like to, you are unable to accept all the invitations you are being offered. Then pick and choose so you join them once or twice a month, and they won't think you don't like them — particularly your colleagues.

DEAR ABBY: I have been married for 35 years. My oldest daughter, Amanda (now 39), wanted to find her "roots." I gave her as much info as I could find out about her dad, and she contacted and kind of enveloped herself into his family. Not good enough of a family, I guess, because now she has taken a DNA test. Now I'm really angry.

Amanda sent a text from an unknown "sister" asking if I knew who the daddy was. Why does the daddy du jour matter that much? Amanda was raised by a strong, loving and responsible man -- my husband. Are cheek swabs eliminating family? 

— REAL FAMILY IN THE WEST

DEAR REAL FAMILY: On the contrary. They appear to be expanding "family" by leaps and bounds. Like many others, Amanda feels a need to know more about her background. You shouldn't feel angry about her curiosity because it's normal. That said, knowing the identity of her birth father should in no way lessen the importance of your husband in her life, particularly if they have had a close relationship.

DEAR ABBY: A couple of years ago, I gave a friend a nice birthday gift that was for the whole family. It was a one-of-a-kind item I thought they would really enjoy. I had researched and read up on it and then had the piece custom designed. They said they loved the item when it arrived, but I have never seen them use it. When I ask where it is, they tell me it's still wrapped up in a box under the bed because they don't have room for it. I believe it, because their apartment is very crowded.

Would it be OK to ask if I could buy it back? I would like to have it since they are not using it. I am willing to pay whatever price they would feel comfortable with. Would this put them in an uncomfortable situation? 

— NOT SURE IN NEW YORK

DEAR NOT SURE: Not knowing your friends, I can't predict what their reaction to your proposal would be. However, because the item is not being used, I don't think it would be out of line to ask the question. Go for it.

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