Ask Amy Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

DEAR AMY: Last year I introduced my long-time best friend and her husband to my new next-door neighbors. All of us got together as couples. Right afterward I found out that my best friend and her husband invited my new neighbors to dinner. She never mentioned to me that she would like to get to know them better. Best Friend has also visited the next-door neighbors, bringing a bottle of wine. I found out after the fact from the new neighbor. This secrecy has made me distrustful and somewhat confused and hurt by the actions of my old friend. I have always been an open book with my closest friends, but she's not like that. She tends to blow off any concerns I express and act like it's not a big deal. I've overlooked small (and some big) slights in the past, but this neighbor thing (on top of other things) has changed my feelings about our friendship. Am I being overly sensitive or did she break the "best friend code" by pursuing a friendship with my new next-door neighbors/friends without even mentioning it to me?


DEAR DISTURBED: Best Friend Code dictates that best friends should not poach one another's partners or close friends. I don't think the BFC (best friend code) covers new neighbors.

It was very nice and generous of you to introduce your new neighbors to your best friend and her husband; now they seem to have established a separate friendship, which your BF is being both exclusive and secretive about.

You realize, I hope, that your friend doesn't need to ask your permission to form new friendships. She doesn't sound like a very inclusive, polite or particularly kind person. I assume your neighbors wonder what her deal is, even as she is getting to know her.

The thing about best friends is that you get to talk to one another about what's on your mind. You should be honest, even if you reveal your own vulnerability by doing so. Her response will dictate what you should do next.

DEAR AMY: My daughter passed away last year after a long illness. We had a memorial service and many friends and family gathered to celebrate her life. My brother from out of town attended, bringing his two small grandchildren. He treated it like a family reunion, offered no condolences, and left early the next day to tour the city. His adult children with families of their own didn't attend or send any acknowledgment. I thought we were close, as we both lost someone close to us within the past three years. We supported him during his grieving period and called frequently. We donated to a charity as a memorial to his loved one. None of this was reciprocated. I feel so disrespected. How do I get past it?


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DEAR GRIEVING: One way to inch your way past this hurt is to admit to yourself how emotionally limited and thoughtless these relatives are. You just have to "own" this truth about them.

Push through your disappointment until you realize that these deeply flawed humans are not only adding to your grief, but are also getting in the way of you reveling in the loveliness of your daughter's life.

If you feel able, you should reach out personally to let them know how you feel about their behavior. Gather your strength to face their silence (or listen to a lot of nonsense excuses).

And please -- remember to lift up thoughts of gratitude to all of the people who came forward as compassionate witnesses and friends during this hugely challenging time.

DEAR AMY: Another response to the question from "Grandparents Ready to Call Child Welfare" about their son's vicious dog. I usually agree with you but in this case I think you needed to back up these grandparents. They should definitely call Child Welfare about this clear danger in the home.

Worried Reader

DEAR WORRIED: I thought the grandparents should have made more of an effort to guide the couple before calling Child Welfare. As I noted in my answer, you only get one shot to make that call -- and naturally the relationship would be damaged, if not severed.