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Time, distance cause friends to begin drifting apart

November 11, 2018

DEAR ABBY: I’m a 15-year-old girl and a sophomore in high school. Last year I went to school across the country. While I was there, I became best friends with this girl, “Amelia.” We did everything together, and Amelia even flew back here to visit my family when school ended and I had to go home.

It has now been a few months since I’ve seen her, and so much has changed. She doesn’t make time to text or call me hardly ever, and when she does, it’s always a quick conversation. Because of the time difference and our schedules, I get that it’s difficult, but shouldn’t she make some time for her best friend?

Amelia and I were as close as sisters, and I can’t stand the thought of losing her. I have already called her out a few times, and we are good for a few days, but then she goes right back to pretending like I don’t exist. I’d rather not call her out again. Any thoughts? — FARAWAY FRIEND IN MARYLAND

DEAR FRIEND: Rather than “call her out,” it’s time to lighten up. Stop trying to make Amelia feel guilty for not giving you the attention she was able to when you were geographically closer. If there’s one thing I have learned about friendships, it’s that they tend to ebb and flow.

Because you now live apart, concentrate on building other relationships with people close by. This doesn’t mean you can’t remain friendly with Amelia; it simply means you are expecting more from her than she’s able to give you.

DEAR ABBY: The holidays are approaching, and with them a problem. I recently moved back to my hometown after being away for many years, and I was eagerly looking forward to spending the holidays with my daughter. She has just informed me that she’s joining a religion that doesn’t celebrate holidays, not even Thanksgiving or birthdays. I would never stand in the way of her chosen path, but I’d still like to be able to include her in family get-togethers. I just don’t know how. Any suggestions? — MISSING HER ALREADY

DEAR MISSING HER: Although you will no longer be able to celebrate the holidays with your daughter, you and the rest of the family can still see her and socialize. Talk to her about it and let her set the ground rules. As long as you are respectful, I’m sure she will be glad to give you suggestions about what you CAN do together.

DEAR ABBY: Early this year my son was killed in an accident. A few weeks later I became ill and was hospitalized. My son’s widow looked after me all those weeks. She was known at the hospital by her name and also as my daughter-in-law.

One of my doctors, standing close to her and right next to my bed, asked for and was granted permission to ask her a personal question -- “What happened to your husband?” Was it insensitive of him to ask that in my presence? — UNSURE IN OKLAHOMA

DEAR UNSURE: Please accept my deepest sympathy for the loss of your son. The doctor asked for permission to inquire about something personal and it was granted. That said, if the doctor was aware that you had lost your son a short time ago and your daughter-in-law was a widow, the question could have been asked privately because death is often a subject that’s painful to discuss when a person is grieving.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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