Dear Amy: I'm flying home with my girlfriend over Thanksgiving to meet my family. In recent days, my mother has brought up Thanksgiving and the prospect of meeting my girlfriend, saying, "I hope you're not making a mistake with her."

For background, I recently left a religious order because I met this young woman and wished to pursue a relationship with her. Mom encouraged me to stay in the order.

Today she mentioned that a girl I grew up with was visiting my parents and said she wanted to see me. Mom said I'd be visiting for Thanksgiving and invited her to visit while I'm home. What should I do? Should I talk to my mother about her inviting another girl to the house while I'm trying to introduce her and my father to my girlfriend?

Amy says: Your mother is giving voice to a thought that nearly all parents have about their kids' partners before they meet them. Her mistake is saying this out loud, because it comes off as distrustful and rude. However, given the complication of your leaving a religious order to be with your girlfriend, you need to understand that you are giving your parents a lot to handle. Presumably, your mother was never expecting to one day greet and host the woman in your life.

But right now, your mom has one job, and that is to remain as open as possible so that she can greet your girlfriend warmly and get to know her. Remind her, "Mom, I need you to stay open-minded and positive. I'm doing great, and I'm very happy."

In terms of inviting your childhood friend — this might be your mother's way of throwing a wrench into things. It could also be her way of indicating that she understands you are no longer committed to the religious order. Remind her, "I'll be home with 'Sasha' and I'm not particularly interested in seeing this other friend while we're home."

Friendship pays

Dear Amy: I'm 25 years old. Everyone my age seems to be getting engaged, having babies or both.

I plan on getting married to my boyfriend at some point.

Why do I, as a guest, a complete third party who had no say in the engagement or pregnancy, now have to give them my money?

The idea of a baby shower blows my mind. Someone decides to have a baby, throws a party and expects people to provide gifts/supplies for the child they decided to have?

Do I get to throw a dog adoption party asking people to buy me gifts/supplies?

A couple decide to get engaged, but now throw a party where they expect me to come and contribute my money so that they can pay for their wedding (as well as providing a wedding gift)?

I am not getting married now because I am saving so that my wedding is completely funded by me. I do not think it is fair to ask people to attend my wedding and have to spend their money on a useless wedding gift.

Why don't people wait until they are financially able to foot the bill instead of asking people to provide them gifts/money so that they can afford to put on these weddings or have a baby?

Amy says: Comparing a human baby to a dog is a bit much. I agree with you that couples should pay for their own weddings, but celebrating these milestones with a gift of congratulations is both customary and kind.

Sometimes it actually feels good — and not a burden — to give a gift!

If you don't want to receive gifts for your wedding, then let your guests know. I assume at least some of them will be relieved.

Send Ask Amy questions to