Ask Amy Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

DEAR AMY: I have a really good friend who is having some personal issues. She asks me for help and asks for advice, but she won't follow it! I wasn't too sure if I was giving her good advice, so I had another friend talk to her about it, but she still doesn't seem to respond to it. I just don't understand why she won't act on my advice. I do ask her how she feels about my advice, but it's like I'm talking to myself. She'll just change the subject. She's always hiding her feelings, too, which I know is not good for her. I don't know what I'm doing wrong -- or is it just her?

Adviser

DEAR ADVISER: As a professional advice-giver, I try to remember the following: Giving advice is a "gift" to the person who has requested it. You offer it up like a balloon. If the person grabs the string as it floats past, she will carry it around, admire it, and maybe even follow where it leads her.

Most people don't do this. They ask for advice and if your advice jibes with what they already think, they think you're brilliant. If your advice hits too close to the bone -- or if they disagree with it -- they will shut it down.

It is not your job to police your friend to make sure she is doing what you told her to do. You've already done your job, and now it's time to stop talking and listen. And this is advice I hope YOU will follow.

DEAR AMY: I am a lifelong bachelor, and I am dedicated to my pets. Recently, my cat was a victim of an altercation with another animal. He could barely walk and had two large bites. I immediately rushed him to my veterinarian, and the bill was not cheap, but my vet gives me time to pay off my bills. A nosy neighbor, with whom I'm halfway friendly, heard about this and criticized me for spending too much money on my cat. We had some "hot words" and I nearly assaulted him. Since then he has tried to make amends, but I want nothing to do with someone who doesn't love animals. Am I wrong?

Animal Rights Ed

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DEAR ED: People are animals, too. Think about it -- people make mistakes, behave badly, and butt in when they shouldn't. What I'm getting at is that people can sometimes act like Labrador retrievers.

I completely agree with you that your devotion to your animals is laudable, but most importantly it is your business. Considering how much joy your pets bring to your life, their health care bills are a great investment for you to make.

However, when a human being makes a mistake, admits the mistake, and tries to make amends, the most humane reaction is to accept the person's apology and extend a hand to repair a friendship.

DEAR AMY: I'm offering something for you to share with readers: My sister-in-law (and longtime friend) lost her battle with cancer recently. Because she died so late at night, my brother (naturally) did not make any calls until the next day. But another visitor, whom I did not know, posted her death (and a tribute to her) on a social media site within a few hours. Because my brother and his wife were "tagged" in the photo, I and many others in my family got the news this way, rather than from my brother or his delegate. Don't you think that people, no matter how well-intentioned, should refrain from announcing deaths in this way before immediate family can be contacted? Police and military refrain out of respect for the family, so why can't they? I have no problem with a spouse announcing news this way, but not others. Am I wrong?

Upset

DEAR UPSET: You are not wrong. You are right. You are very, very right. No one other than the principal designated party or next of kin should post news of a death (or a birth or an engagement) on social media. It is incredibly rude and very distressing.