Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.
DEAR AMY: I need some advice. I was recently married and my maid of honor threw me a bridal shower. The shower was the Thursday before the wedding. At the wedding she proceeded to imbibe too much alcohol, botched her speech, got in a fight with her boyfriend (who tried to fight my husband), hit on my brother, father and the (married) photographer, and then left in a blaze of crying hysterical glory well before the night was over. Needless to say, we are not currently on speaking terms. So as I am writing my thank-you cards, do I still send her one for the bridal shower? — D
DEAR D: Yes, you should thank her. You can write, “Thank you so much for hosting my bridal shower. We all had a nice time and I genuinely appreciate all of your efforts on behalf of my wedding. What confuses and disappoints me is your behavior at my wedding. You may not even remember what you did, but you embarrassed yourself — and me. I hope this is a wakeup call for you to consider the consequences of your drinking.”
My basic point is that the friendship is over anyway — and you should both do the polite thing and thank her for hosting an event that evidently went well, and also the friend thing, which is to tell her the truth about her behavior and how it affected you.
DEAR AMY: I’m on a very strict budget. I make decent money, but live in a very expensive area. I check my balances daily, track them on spreadsheets and am slowly paying down debt and building up savings. But my friends constantly suggest things to buy or places to go that I can’t afford. These friends either make more money than I do, or have living situations where they have more disposable income. They’re trying to be helpful, and I’m flattered that they might see a product or vacation idea and think that I’d enjoy it. But after the umpteenth “That jacket is really cute, but I can’t afford it” and “Wine-tasting does sound super-fun, but I don’t have room in my budget right now,” I’m getting worn down. I’m trying not to become bitter that my friends have money for fun, but it’s hard. How can I get it through to them that I have to keep within my monetary limits? — Can’t Afford It
DEAR CAN’T AFFORD IT: It might be easier on you if you simply gave up on trying to get through to your friends about your finances. If someone sends you a link to a cute J Crew jacket, you don’t need to respond with “I can’t afford it.” You can either not respond at all, or you can just say, “Yummy...”
Not every texted or emailed link is a suggestion that you must follow — this is just how some people share cool stuff. I realize that the context is implied, but it doesn’t have to be.
I was in a very similar situation as a young adult — financially struggling but surrounded by people who seemed to have so much more. You simply have to make your own way and make your own fun. Maybe your budget-consciousness yields a cool flea market vibe to your apartment. Perhaps you’re up for Frisbee in the park over Champagne at the Mark. Don’t judge your friends for having more, and pat yourself on the back for being so savvy and smart. Given your great habits, you will see the balance tip.
DEAR AMY: I am a huge fan of your column. The letter from “Diabetic,” whose husband sabotaged her efforts by bringing sweets home really struck home for me. In my house it is my husband who is the diabetic and he brings home all the cookies and chocolates that none of us need to be tempted with on a daily basis. My solution was to put all of these treats in a drawer of his dresser. For the rest of us in the household the treats were out of sight and out of mind and it made him realize that he is really the only one eating this stuff. Works for us. — Healthy
DEAR HEALTHY: I love your solution. Your choice was to make your husband hyper-aware of who was actually consuming these sweets. I hope he is able to get a handle on his problem, because failing could have extreme consequences for him.