NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Q: My wife and I have gone out with this couple about once every two months for the last year and a half. Frankly, they're kind of superficial and we're both getting sick of these dinner dates. How can we approach "handling" this seemingly frequent obligation?A: This will continue for a lifetime if you don't nip it in the bud! It sounds as if you're caught in an ongoing cycle of reciprocity with this couple. They invite you to dinner, maybe you feel obliged to return the favor. No one's having any fun but who wants to be perceived as rude or selfish? So these unenjoyable evenings continue. Breaking the cycle:
- Let them lead: Don't extend invitations. Be busy: If they call to set up a date, postpone it. Plan gaps: Make dates every four months instead of every two. Group plans: Try seeing them with other couples or at a party. Polite excuses: If they complain of less frequent plans: "We just saw you last week at _____'s birthday party!"