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Monday question: I'll never be your beast of burden

Posted by Robin Abrahams  June 28, 2010 06:37 AM

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Today's question is an awkward vacation scenario:

A group of us decided on a big trip to SE Asia this summer. We were all like-minded, independent people and know we'll travel well together. Suddenly a mutual friend invited herself along. This person is older than the average age of our group and has physical limitations (bad knees, back, etc.) and is also very demanding and attention seeking. She has already told me that I will have to help her get dressed every morning. My question is, is it rude of me to sit her down before we go and tell her that I will not be dressing her, nor will I be her personal slave during this trip? She is quite capable of doing stuff for herself, but has always had her spouse/children around to do stuff for her and she prefers to have others accomodate her. My thought is that this is my vacation and I do not want to be working while on vacation - this is my one time in the year to get away from being someone's slave... This woman, while I quite like her, is not really a friend of mine, but she has attached herself to me since we started planning this trip...

What do you think? As usual, I'll offer my advice on Friday, and Wednesday we'll have a chance for another conversation. 
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About Miss Conduct
Welcome to Miss Conduct’s blog, a place where the popular Boston Globe Magazine columnist Robin Abrahams and her readers share etiquette tips, unravel social conundrums, and gossip about social behavior in pop culture and the news. Have a question of your own? Ask Robin using this form or by emailing her at missconduct@globe.com.
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Who is Miss Conduct?

Robin Abrahamswrites the weekly "Miss Conduct" column for The Boston Globe Magazine and is the author of Miss Conduct's Mind over Manners. Robin has a PhD in psychology from Boston University and also works as a research associate at Harvard Business School. Her column is informed by her experience as a theater publicist, organizational-change communications manager, editor, stand-up comedian, and professor of psychology and English. She lives in Cambridge with her husband Marc Abrahams, the founder of the Ig Nobel Prizes, and their socially challenged but charismatic dog, Milo.

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