Dear Annie: I am a college student and have met few people I would consider friends. However, there is one friend in particular, “Sally,” whom I have helped out a lot since we met. There have been times when I’ve taken her to and from work (she has paid me back for gas), and I even helped guide her to the Lord after a friend died by suicide. I love Sally and consider her a dear friend, but this semester she has begun running with a different crowd. She always parties and drinks and looks for companions. She has completely dropped me, to the point where she ignored a text I sent her about plans she had initiated with me. I feel taken advantage of and unappreciated in the friendship. I don’t want to cut her completely out of my life, but at this point, that looks like my only option.— The Doormat Friend
Dear Doormat Friend: Unlike a doormat, you have free will. You don’t have to let this girl — or anyone else, for that matter — walk all over you. It sounds as though your friendship with Sally is, at best, a poor match; at worst, it’s making you feel less valuable than you are. So take some space from her, and spend time on things and people who make you feel top of mind, not underfoot.
Dear Annie: I agree with “Love Is the Answer” and “Out of Sight but Never Out of Mind’s” viewpoint on not seeing people who are near death. I remember every detail from when I saw both of my aunts near death. I had such wonderful memories of my aunts and spending time with them all my life, but all I can think about are their last breaths — a horrific thing to see. So count me as one who also prefers to shelter herself from seeing someone in this condition. — Remembering Them How They Were
Dear Remembering Them: I understand where you’re coming from, but the following letter writer makes some great points about being with loved ones when they die.
Dear Annie: You were very gracious in your response to “Love Is the Answer.” In rationalizing why people avoid being around loved ones who are dying, she explained that often it simply hurts too much and that she prefers remembering them how they were. Yes, it is painful to see loved ones in pain or dying, but “Love Is the Answer” should think for a moment about how THEY feel. Even if you don’t know what to say or can’t manage to be there long, you may be able to sit quietly with the person or hold a hand or whisper one of those great memories you are trying so hard to hold on to. Neither you nor they live in a vacuum, and I urge “Love Is the Answer” and like-minded people to consider someone else and set aside their narrow focus.
Yes, it is hard, but it is the price you pay for being a person on this earth with a modicum of empathy. How is “Love Is the Answer” going to feel when she is all alone at the end of her life and no loved ones come to be with her because, you know, it would make them feel bad? We all need to look at the situation as the privilege it is to have some small way to ease someone’s suffering. — Shocked and Saddened
Dear Shocked and Saddened: I’m happy to print this heartfelt plea for empathy. It’s never easy to witness the suffering of family members and close friends, but it definitely comes with the territory of love.
“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to email@example.com.