Ask Amy Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

DEAR AMY: This past summer, my best friend of more than 30 years, her 9-year-old daughter, her new husband and others, rented a villa in the Caribbean. I was invited to join the group. My friend has always been very self-centered. I’ve always accepted this about her. On the fourth day, I was asked to move into the room with the child. Originally my friend said that I may have to do this for one or two nights, but not half the trip. When I tried to mitigate the situation calmly, she pounced. They all ganged up on me after that. However, the worst part of this situation is that while there — in a foreign country — with a child in the house — cocaine was bought, possessed and consumed. My friend had a history of this and had assured me in advance that this would be a “clean vacation.” I ended up watching a movie in the room with the child while the other very high people were right outside the window (very uncomfortable). I checked in to a hotel the next day and was basically outcast after that. I feel betrayed that she lied about my accommodations and put me (and the child) at great risk possessing a Schedule II narcotic in a foreign country. I am a business owner and cannot take chances like that! She and I own property together in her home state on the other side of the country. I have asked to be bought out and have not really discussed anything since. She is bothered by my “silence,” but I feel like the most prudent and kindest thing I can do is remain silent. And I know it is fruitless to speak to addiction. Your thoughts?

Sad About My Friend

DEAR SAD: Well, your friendship is over. I’m not sure why you would choose to stay silent about this long friendship’s demise, other than the anxiety over being bullied by her.

“Kindness” in this context is not staying silent, but speaking your mind, because at this point, your kindness should be directed toward yourself. Your silence here translates into passive acceptance of reprehensible behavior.

You should contact her, re-state your issues with her behavior (including the drug use), and immediately take legal steps to extricate yourself from co-ownership of this faraway property.

DEAR AMY: It’s Girl Scout cookie time and as usual co-workers or friends with daughters leave a sign-up sheet for cookie orders. I refuse to buy these goods from a former Girl Scout (i.e. the parent). I will only buy them from the scout herself. The proceeds from this annual event are intended to help the troop, but it’s also designed for girls to learn some sales skills, and deal with rejection. The same goes for the wrapping paper, cookie dough and all of the other goods that kids sell to raise funds. Let the child do it!

Susan, Former Girl Scout

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DEAR SUSAN: I understand your reasoning. Parents should never directly solicit sales on their kids’ behalf or pressure people to buy/order at work — or anywhere else. This is a definite breach.

But there are many people who don’t have access to Girl Scouts in their civilian lives. And, what about them (and me)? Where would these people (and I) score their fix of Thin Mints to stash in the freezer and parcel out over the course of the year, if not for the sign-up sheet at the office?

Perhaps you should see this piece of paper only as a potential opportunity for some, but otherwise easily ignored by you.

DEAR AMY: You recently responded to a “Confused Girl Scout Mom,” whose 9-year-old daughter was on the receiving end of a troop leader’s generosity on a Girl Scout outing, when the leader purchased something for the girl. I have been in similar situations with my own daughter and assume there will be more as she gets older and attends events with friends. I was surprised the writer’s husband would balk at the Girl Scout values of being thankful and gracious, and I liked your response. I would only add that a 9-year-old girl can also write a simple card or email to thank the troop leader. This mom modeled the kind response; now she could extend the example to her daughter herself.

Alex in Dallas, TX

DEAR ALEX: A note from the girl to her troop leader would complete this lesson in generosity and gratitude perfectly. Thank you!