DEAR ABBY: I have a distant friend who I met online 10 years ago. I felt sorry for her because she was almost destitute and I helped her pay her bills. She has visited me several times and I care about her very much. However, her constant demands for money are starting to make me uncomfortable. (She cannot work for health reasons, and there is a great shortage of social services or skilled care in her community of Rust Belt.)
I don’t want to continue to allow it. I tried to suggest that she get closer to her sister, seek better care, etc., but she doesn’t have the motivation. I find it hard to say “no” to people. I got married recently and I don’t want this situation to negatively affect my relationship with my wife.
In my friend’s current emotional state, I’m afraid that if I end my friendship with her, she will never recover from the emotional trauma. She even tattooed my name on her wrist to see it whenever she wanted to cut herself, like she did before we met. What should I do? – RELATED TO HER
DEAR RELATED: Start researching assertiveness training programs for yourself because you are in dire need of more help than I can give you in one column. Talk to your wife for extra emotional support, because you’re right: continue to financially help your friend online VA destroy your marriage. After that tell this woman in need that you won’t be sending her any more money and that you don’t want her to contact you until she gets closer to her sister so that she can find the help she needs. Don’t feel guilty for doing this. You have been extraordinarily generous in letting this go on for a decade.
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DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have good friends who overwinter every year in another state across the country. For years they have asked us to come visit us. Last winter we were on vacation about six hours from their place of residence. We called and asked if they were available and if it would be convenient for us to come for three days. They assured us that they had no commitments and would love us to come, which we did.
In the early morning hours of the third day, they announced that they had been invited to go to a soccer game with a friend and would be leaving almost immediately, adding that it was an hour away and they would be gone. all day and would come back in the early evening. They said we were welcome to “just hang out” and wait for their return. We said we would go home the same time they left for the football game. I was stunned and felt they were incredibly rude. Am I overly sensitive or was this an acceptable way to treat guests? – SURPRISED IN A COLD STATE
DEAR CAUGHT: I agree that was rude. Your friends had the choice of either fulfilling their duties as gracious hosts or of being selfish and playing the game. By choosing the latter, they damaged a long-standing friendship. I can see why you were “surprised”.
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