Annie's Mailbox: Need Some Advice
Dear Annie: My best friend, "Clara," and I have known each other for 30 years. We're both retired and live in the same town. Neither of us has a husband. We talk on the phone every day.
We get along fine, except we have never been able to talk politics. If I don't agree with her completely, Clara gets angry. I'm not allowed to have my own opinion. It's her way or the highway. Every time she gets mad at me, I'm always the one to pick up the phone and talk to her as though we've never argued.
Last month, we got into a heated discussion about our world problems, and we both hung up angry. I called Clara that evening, but no one answered, and she didn't call me back like she always does. This went on for two weeks, so I wrote her a letter explaining how sorry I am, but that I am entitled to my own opinion, the same as anyone else. I also said our friendship is too important to let a silly argument end it. I haven't heard back.
Clara and I were the kind of friends who told each other everything, and I thought we had each other's back. Her friendship meant everything to me. But am I supposed to lie and say I think the same way she does just to keep the peace? She claims to be religious, but how can she not forgive something like this? I really miss my friend. -- Need Some Advice
Dear Need: These days, politics can make enemies out of anyone. Your best bet is to steer clear of the discussion altogether, because you know it only creates an argument. If Clara brings it up, simply say, "I don't want to talk about politics. How is your daughter doing?" You shouldn't need to apologize every time.
But is there a possibility that, rather than avoiding you, Clara is unwell? Could you check with someone to see whether she is OK? A mutual friend or relative can fill you in on her status and also act as an intermediary to put this latest argument behind you. And keep it there. We hope she's fine and you can reconcile. A 30-year friendship shouldn't be thrown away over politics.
Dear Annie: I am 91 years old and would like the ability to cry at a death or a funeral or anything sad. What is wrong with me? I feel that I should cry at these times and am hurt when others remark on it. -- Paducah, Ky.
Dear Paducah: Everyone responds differently to various emotional events. An inability to cry at all is often a sign of depression, brain injury or illness and should be checked by a physician. But if your problem is that you simply cannot cry at sad events where others are present, it's more likely you have an inhibition against showing extreme emotion in front of others, something that may have been reinforced since childhood.
It doesn't mean you aren't sad, and you don't need to apologize. How you display emotion at funerals is nobody's business. If faking it would make your life easier, pull out a handkerchief and pretend to wipe your eyes now and then.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2015. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.