Friend seems callous to her illness - Newsday

Friend seems callous to her illness

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Ask Amy Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist. ...

DEAR AMY: My question for you involves someone I would have characterized as a close friend until this year. She relocated to another city many years ago. I've happily visited her and we've traveled together as well. I had a serious health scare this summer and let her know of it when she wrote suggesting a possible visit with us. When she comes to town to care for her aging parents, she sometimes stays overnight at our house. For five months she continued sending us proposed dates when she would be in the area, never including a word of response to any news from me concerning my health. Finally, I let her partner know my concern about her lack of response. Her partner had been very supportive about my surgeries.

My inquiry prompted the friend to send me a vague letter about how she had missed the news about me, can't go back or undo, but can only go forward. No word of caring about the health episode, yet providing the dates she'll next be here. My husband thinks she is lying. She has a history of not keeping up her end of things, yet never to this extreme. I'm well now. Do I reply or remain silent and let her figure out that I'm through with this friendship? I'd like to express a clear view, kindly, from the high road, even though she has not.Fan of the Golden RuleDEAR FAN: Treat your friend as you would like to be treated -- with honesty, compassion and understanding. Her lack of concern may seem strange, but I find it is surprisingly common. In my experience, people who respond well to a health crisis have a sort of perfect pitch for calamity. The rest of us try to cover up for our own inadequacy by acting vague and quickly trying to change the subject. This behavior is not right. It's not fair. But can you forgive her for this major failing? You cannot use silence and inattention to convey your message (that's her trick). If you don't want this friendship to continue, be honest with her about the reason.

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