Ask Amy: Friendship falters over bungled gift
Dear Amy: Over a year ago, I was pregnant with my first child and a friend of mine offered (she offered, I did not ask) to give me some of her maternity clothes that she was finished with.
I gladly accepted and was grateful for her generosity!
My husband and I ended up losing the baby, right at the beginning of the third trimester.
As you can imagine, we were absolutely devastated.
After our loss, this friend called incessantly, and it was too much for me at the time, and I didn’t always answer her calls.
She also said a number of insensitive things, of one which was: “I’m actually kind of jealous of you.”
She has two beautiful children with her husband, I believe she meant that there are still things to enjoy with my husband while we are childless — and that some of that freedom is lost when you have children.
I let that go.
However, a few months ago, she texted me and asked if I would mail her maternity clothes back so that her sister-in-law could use them.
When she gave me the clothes, she said that they were mine to keep, and that I should pay them forward when I was finished with them.
Amy, I am not finished with them! In fact, I was about six-weeks pregnant when she asked for her clothes back.
I wasn’t ready to tell her I was pregnant again.
This request was the last straw. I told her how much her request upset me, and I returned the clothes to her.
I haven’t been able to talk to her since, despite her calls.
Am I being overly sensitive about this? I feel like this has permanently affected our relationship.
Should I have an open and honest conversation with her about this, and let her know that I’m not sure this is something that I can move past?
I would greatly appreciate an outsider’s perspective.
Dear B: So far, this friend of yours has done all of the talking and you have been forced to react and respond, repeatedly, to her obnoxious and insensitive behavior.
I hope this extremely painful loss in your life has helped to show you who your real friends are. She is not one of them.
I think you should let her go, without further conversation. At some point she will force herself upon you, and you can tell her that your friendship has simply run its course. If it would give you any satisfaction to explain why, then you should do so — but understand that she could expand any explanation into a protracted conversation.
I think she’s already talked enough.
Dear Amy: I have a lovely daughter and wonderful son-in-law. I adore them both.
Recently they got a puppy. Unfortunately, “Spot” has turned into a huge, out of control adult dog.
We live in the same city.
Whenever they come to visit, they bring Spot with them.
He is huge, unruly, untrained (has accidents in our house), chews furniture, etc.
I try to step in with “No!” and “Down boy!” and occasionally my daughter and her hubby chime in as well, but the dog is clearly the one in charge.
I love to see them, but I feel trapped in this routine where, if I want to see my daughter, I have to put up with Spot.
I don’t know why they think we don’t mind about the dog. I’ve told them that we do.
I’ve told her that we don’t allow pets on the furniture (we have had pets before).
How do I get to see my darling daughter without Spot?
— Spot’s Granny
Dear Granny: It doesn’t sound as if you have emphasized the fact that you cannot have this dog in your home.
It sounds as if you are going to have to train your daughter and her son the way they should be training their dog. Keep it simple. Repeat as often as necessary.
Say, “I know you love “Spot,” but until he is more manageable, I simply can’t handle having him in the house. I’d be happy to revisit this once he is more mature and better trained.”
Dear Amy: When I go out in public, I sometimes wear a hat that says “U.S. Navy Veteran Proudly Served.”
Frequently, someone will say, “Thank you for your service.”
What is an appropriate, gracious response?
— WW II Vet
Dear Veteran: You could respond: “Thank you for saying that. It was my honor to serve our country.”
©2021 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.