Dear Harriette:

Now that things are heating up in the race for the presidency, I am noticing that fewer and fewer of my friends are paying attention. Last year, this was all we seemed to talk about. Now, it’s like pulling teeth to get those same young people, who are just about to vote for the first or second time, to pay any attention at all. They say they got exhausted by the fussing and fighting and are uninspired to continue to watch things play out. I am horrified. If people get apathetic already, what will happen come November?

— Prepare To Vote

Dear Prepare To Vote: It is true that there has been a lot of discussion about the upcoming election, especially for people who have been paying attention. It is possible to get fatigued by the negative aspects of the race, but you are right to acknowledge that if people do not stay engaged, we will not be fulfilling our duty in a democracy — to make our voices heard by casting our vote. I believe that as the primaries continue to occur across the country, people will regain interest in what’s going on.

You can help stir your friends’ interest by pointing out what the election results are and what’s going on in the White House, and asking them to chime in with their views. People typically like to talk about what they think. If you inquire directly as to where they stand on the election cycle, you are likely to reignite some interest.

Dear Harriette: I am traveling during the summer to attend a friend’s wedding. I am very excited about being invited, and I’m getting everything together so that I can go. It’s pretty expensive to make it happen, what with the airplane ticket, hotel, rental car and meals that aren’t covered by the wedding. Considering how much I am spending just to get there, can you tell me if I am expected to give the couple a gift as well? I don’t want to be rude, but I am already way beyond my budget.

— Cost of a Wedding

Dear Cost Of A Wedding: This is the dilemma for many who make the trek to witness a couple’s nuptials. Weddings are expensive for everyone, especially the couple getting married. I would like to recommend that you give the couple something as a gift, even if the cost of it is nominal. Take a look at their wedding registry. Most couples keep in mind that their guests have different price points. Wise couples include practical and affordable home items on their lists as well as a few splurge items. When your budget is tight, it is wise to go to their list so that your gift can be of specific value to them.

Another gift that many couples appreciate that can come at a later date is an invitation delivered in a card for a home-cooked meal by you after they settle into married life.