Dear Amy: I have known “Camilla” for 20 years. She is the closest friend I have, but I know she doesn’t feel the same about me. Instead, she tends to lean on me when her actual closest friend, “Elizabeth,” hurts her in some way. The three of us all work together.
Over the last three months, Camilla has leaned on me a lot, confiding in me that she was trying to find a way to extract herself from her friendship with Elizabeth without too much drama.
However, two weeks ago, Camilla literally yelled at me — in front of Elizabeth — for no reason other than Camilla had just gotten a bad haircut and I happened to walk into the room as she was telling Elizabeth about it.
I was so mortified that I just backed out of the room.
It also happened to be Camilla’s birthday. Just three hours earlier she was opening a birthday gift from me, telling me how much she loved it, and me. Now she has stopped taking my calls and will not respond to my texts.
I am deeply hurt by this. It may be time for me to redefine my relationship with her. I love her dearly, and I understand that she doesn’t consider me her closest friend, but this recent berating and subsequent cold shoulder are not acceptable in my mind.
Am I overreacting? What do I say to her the next time Elizabeth hurts her and she wants a shoulder to cry on?
Dear Hurting: Life at your office seems like a veritable den of drama. This is not to diminish how hurt you feel, but to advise you to step carefully.
So yes — “redefine,” and do so quickly, while you still seem to hold a shred of affection for “Camilla” (why you do is something of a mystery).
If she comes to you complaining about “Elizabeth,” listen, don’t react, say something innocuous, like, “Well, that’s a shame,” and then tell her you’ve got to go. If she sidles up to you, wanting to be closer, you should continue to be neutral and noncommittal.
In addition to taking the air out of this “mean girl’s” balloon, you caring much less will also drive her just a little bit bananas.
Dear Amy: After sheltering in place for over six months now, several girlfriends and I began planning a weekend away together.
As we were planning our time together, one friend asked if she could invite her roommate.
I wasn’t that excited about including someone I didn’t know as well, but I told myself, “If I feel like I need to get away, she probably does, too!”, so we extended the invitation.
Then the friend asked if we could stay at a pet-friendly place so her dog could come. I would prefer not.
The rest of us are making arrangements for the children we are leaving behind, and I would prefer it if this friend would also make arrangements to leave her dog behind.
Am I being unreasonably selfish?
Should I state my preference, or make peace with my disappointment?
— Trying to Please Everyone
Dear Trying to Please: You should ask yourself why you believe that you are of so little consequence that you can’t even answer a simple question, posed respectfully. Remember: Anyone can ask for anything, but that doesn’t obligate you to agree to their “ask.”
The question is: “Hey, could we stay at a pet-friendly place, because I would like to bring my dog….”
Your answer is, “I vote no. We are all leaving our kids and pets behind.”
If your other friends are co-planning and co-paying for this getaway, and they all want to spend their time with your friend’s dog, then you will be overruled. Then it would be time for you to find a way to make peace with your disappointment.
Dear Amy: I signed my letter to you, “Sad and Confused.” I wondered whether to travel to see my 87-year-old father, who was dying.
I wanted to give you an update. We did go to visit my dad. We were able to see him for about a half-hour. During that time he was completely cognizant and lucid. It was amazing. We talked about the family and even had him laughing. There were no sad goodbyes.
I just want to say that I wouldn’t trade that half-hour for anything. It was worth the 14-hour drive and all the complications.
— No Longer Sad and Confused
Dear No Longer Sad: You did the right thing.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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