Dear Abby: My best friend (since we were babies) and I are having a disagreement. She had two kids when she was 16 and 17 who are now in their early 20s. One of them still lives rent-free under her roof.
My friend struggled her whole life but got a college degree, bought a house five years ago and owns two cars all on her own. She has recently started having friends over on the weekends and drinking. While I don’t do that, I understand she had kids early and wants to have a little fun now in her 40s. She’s very responsible and pays her bills.
The other day I walked in and her daughter started screaming at me that I need to tell her mom to stop and saying that she was moving out. I was shocked that she spoke to me that way.
My friend started crying because she loves her daughter and doesn’t want her to move. I say, let her go. She needs to learn to respect her elders, and she’ll soon realize living on her own isn’t easy. My friend didn’t agree and hasn’t said anything to her daughter about how she spoke to both of us. I want to help my friend because she comes to me for advice, but I don’t know how. – Disapproving Friend
Dear Friend: People often say things in the heat of anger. You walked in on a fight between your friend and her daughter. You have no idea what started it, and you shouldn’t have inserted yourself. When you tried to “help,” your input was rejected.
You have already said enough. Now, resist the impulse to stir the pot and step back so your friend can handle this herself.
Dear Abby: I come from a family with incest and physical and psychological abuse. I need to talk with my little sister about it. How do I get through it without breaking down before I can help her? My little brother died by suicide six months ago. I have been having nightmares over it. How do I go about getting through to her about it all? – Bad History in Idaho
Dear Bad History: Before attempting to do that, it’s important that you talk with a licensed therapist about what happened to you in that unhealthy environment. Once that is done, ask if you can bring your little sister to some sessions.
It is tragic that your brother was so damaged by the abuse he received that he could not go on, and I respect you for wanting to prevent something similar from happening to your sister. Groups such as the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (afsp.org) offer counseling referrals after a family member takes their own life. You may be able to find a qualified referral there.
Dear Abby: I usually send special occasion flowers to my wife at work. I was wondering if it could make some co-workers who do not receive flowers from their partner or husband feel neglected, and worse, cause friction between them and my wife. If you feel this could be a potential problem, I can have the flowers delivered to our home. – Excluded in Florida
Dear Excluded: If receiving flowers at her job has caused any tension in the past, you probably would have heard about it. However, you should ask your wife what she would prefer because she may enjoy the public gesture of husbandly love.