Originally Published: February 11, 2017 6:03 a.m.
Dear Annie: My good friend Grace and I met Beth about two years ago at a summer camp. We all became fast friends and ended up spending the rest of the summer together. Beth moved away that November, but we continued to see her almost as much as we had before. Now we all attend different schools, and it has been hard. We managed to make it work until about four months ago.
Grace’s father teaches Beth’s basketball team and has told Grace that Beth is always crying at practice. In response, Grace and I baked her cookies and wrote her a note telling her that we are here for her, and then we delivered them via her father.
Later that month, we saw Beth at a dance, and we asked about the cookies. She told us that they were disgusting and that she had fed them to her dog, and then she walked off to join her school friends. That night, I texted her and asked her what was wrong, and she told me that I needed to stop “nagging” her and that I shouldn’t get angry with her for “having a life.” Annie, she is my best friend, and I know there has to be something wrong for her to say that to me, but she won’t open up and tell me. Should I keep pressing for answers? Should I back up and give her space? Or should I just completely give up and tell her to have a good life? — Confused and Worried
Dear Confused: If it helps your own peace of mind, write Beth a letter stating that you’re there to listen whenever she’s ready to talk. Then give her space — or rather, take some space for yourself. Whatever she might be going through, the things she said were flat-out cruel. You are a sweetheart for wanting to see the best in her in spite of it all. But you deserve nothing less than kindness.
Dear Annie: I would like to add to your response to “I Ain’t No Mr. Moneybags,” the law student on a limited budget dating a young woman who hasn’t offered to chip in for any of the dates.
He should be honest and tell “Laura” that he is on a limited student budget rather than drop hints that she might or might not get. He should ask her whether she can occasionally pay. If she is driven by how much money he spends on her, then she is the wrong girl for him.
Many years ago, both my now-husband and I were law students. When he was writing his law review article, I was the one working as a law clerk, so I had the money to take us out. It was simply about who could pay. Of course, we went out for burgers and Chinese food and low-cost movies, not expensive dinners.
Thirty years later, he always talks about how he knew then that I was a caring person who was willing to share; I did not expect fancy things when we could not afford it. Now he earns much more money and is generous with me, and we still share. After all, relationships are partnerships.
“I Ain’t No Mr. Moneybags” will earn more money when he graduates. Until then, he should take it easy. Share the cost and he will know what
kind of person Laura really is. — Dana
Dear Dana: You’re right; directness is better than dropping hints that someone might not even think to pick up. Congratulations to you and your husband on 30 years of marriage.
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