Dear Urban Diplomat,
For my 40th birthday, my sister bought me season’s tickets to the Canadian Opera Company—two seats in the centre orchestra section. I was thrilled, and I took my husband to the season opener. I later learned that she was offended because she had assumed we’d share the seats. Giving a gift and then expecting to use half of it strikes me as a tad gauche. I don’t think I should be obligated to take her with me all season. How can I tell her as much without igniting a family feud?
—Sour Sibling, Lawrence Park
If your sister wanted to be your perpetual plus-one, she should have kept one ticket for herself. She didn’t, so both seats are yours to fill with whomever you like. Send her a note expressing how thankful you are and tell her to select three shows she’s most excited about, because you want her to be your date. She’ll feel sufficiently included and appreciated, and you’ll be free to fill the other seat with your husband, co-worker or handbag as you see fit.
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