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Dear Amy: My husband and I have lived in our neighborhood for about 10 years. We’re friendly and neighborly.

One house has always been a “trouble” house. Loud arguments are heard, the SWAT team showed up to arrest an adult son (yikes), neighbors accuse the kids of stealing tools from their shed, and recently police were there again, with reports of gunshots fired.

Last summer, we hosted a backyard party and set up a bar in our basement.

The mother from that house came by, uninvited. Not wanting to be rude, we welcomed her. She then brought in her son and his girlfriend, who ensconced themselves at our bar.

They all seemed friendly enough, but when the guests were leaving, they asked to stay. I said: “Last call.” They wanted to stay longer, offered to help clean up, asked to tour the house and use the bathroom (they live a block away!). I finally got them to leave by sending them with to-go drinks.

They have already asked me once, in passing, if we will host again (they can see into our yard from their place).

I don’t have a good feeling about them in our home.

Should I host, and if they show up, say it’s a private party? I don’t want to be friends, but we are neighbors. Help!

Hospitality Has Limits

Dear Limits: If these neighbors approach you to ask if you are planning to hold a party — any party — you should say, “Nope. No plans.”

And then you should host any party you want to host.

If these people show up, greet them outside the entrance, say a friendly “Hi, I can’t talk right now because I’ve got some guests here.”

If they try to invite themselves in, you’ll have to be friendly but firm, and tell them that it’s a private party and that you’ll catch up with them another time.

Dear Amy: About six months ago, I had to place my husband of 64 years into assisted living, due to mental and physical decline.

He has adjusted very well. I visit him every day.

I have also adjusted to my new life alone, with the help of our children and grandchildren, who visit him every week. I am fortunate to have caring and friendly neighbors and friends.

However, there is one problem that greatly bothers and disturbs me. Of our married friends (very few couples left), very few have even called since the beginning of all this.

My best friend, whom I have known for more than 50 years, has never visited me, rarely calls, and only invited me once to her house for coffee.

I feel I have been abandoned by my closest friends, at a time when I need them the most.

What has happened? What have I done? Am I a threat to them? If so, why?

I have heard from my widowed friends that the same thing happened to them.

I realize that I have to make new friends, and I do. I am active in church and community activities, but I am disappointed in my “old and true forever-friends.”

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