DEAR AMY: I have been struggling to comprehend the breakup of a friendship. A friend of over 20 years wiped me out of her life. I think the reason why is because — years after her husband left her, she didn't seem to be moving on. I offered my unsolicited advice, which was to stop being the victim and to look outside of herself. My guess is that she felt I was judging her when, in fact, I was sincerely trying to help her. It seemed we made up after that, but then when I needed her, she didn't show up for me. I think she'd made up her mind that the friendship wasn't good for her. I didn't react well to that and she shut me out of all social media and would not respond to me. I was hurt and confused because I thought that good friends could work through anything. I wish she would have given me the benefit of the doubt — sometimes we do or say stupid things — but her treatment seemed overly harsh, which makes me think there were other issues that I wasn't aware of. (Maybe jealousy?) I'd love to have closure and embrace the lesson here, but reaching out again is out of the question. Can you provide some insight?
DEAR PERPLEXED: It sounds as if (despite your good intentions) you've been both judgmental and harsh toward this friend. You don't note that you've ever apologized for your own words or actions, only that you wanted to be granted the benefit of the doubt for doing and saying stupid things.
The lesson here is to always do your best to treat others the way you would like to be treated. When you let others down — admit, apologize, and ask for forgiveness.
Friendships are created between human beings, and we humans are beset by fault and frailty. Good friends cannot always work through everything, because that process requires that both people be strong, honest and motivated.
When relationships fall apart, it helps to take responsibility for your own negative actions and strive to do better next time. Forgiving yourself is also part of this process. That's when you might feel closure.
DEAR AMY: I'm a young, single adult in my mid-20s. I recently moved back to my parents' house to save up some money. My mother and I are very close — it's comforting to talk to her about my relationships, health, etc. However, when it comes to my dating life, she can be very hurtful. I recently was seeing someone who slightly knows my older brother, "Drew." This set her off: "Don't sleep with him right away! You don't want people talking about Drew's sister 'like that.' I know how you are; you move too fast. Men won't respect you." Amy, I've never shared information with her about my sex life specifically, so these comments are uncalled for. She says the same thing every time we talk about dating, yet dispels none of this advice to my brothers. Yet she's always asking me when I'm going to finally "find a boyfriend." When I tell her that her comments hurt me, she usually apologizes. But once we talk about my dating life again, the comments start all over again. I love sharing things with my mom. Do I have to stop now?
Shamed but not Ashamed
DEAR SHAMED: Your mother seems to have a retrograde response to dating and relationships. But you already know this, because she is your mother.
Being an adult in your childhood household brings with it many challenges (for everyone). Now that you are back home, you should put up some reasonable boundaries to protect both of you from the judgment your mother can't help but supply, as well as the way it makes you feel when she does.
You can do this by not discussing your private, romantic, sex or dating life with her. Your mother is not your bestie. She is your meddlesome mother. When she asks when you'll get a boyfriend, tell her "Mom, if and when I do, you'll be among the first to know."
DEAR AMY: "Concerned Friend," was upset when her friend moved into senior housing and was forced by her daughter to surrender her car. I'd like to emphasize that many of us who live in senior housing drive, and drive safely!
Senior, Safe Driver
DEAR DRIVER: Family members sometimes accelerate the "no driving" decision out of an overabundance of concern and control.