Dear Carolyn: I am retired but my husband still works. What is the kindest way to tell my mateless friends to quit phoning me around dinner? I understand 5 p.m. is the time of day they can no longer ignore or pretend they are not alone and lonely, but I am always in a rush to get the remainder of my house picked up, myself looking presentable and dinner started. Letting messages go to voice mail is not working.
Anonymous: Define “not working,” then. If you don’t want to talk to your friends at that time, then, um, the easiest possible solution is to let voice mail handle them and to call back at your convenience — this being why voice mail exists.