Life Advice



Ask Amy: A father’s memories don’t admit flaws

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

In shared company I've seen Millie ignore Sandra and talk over her without listening.

My wife Sandra is a florist and has done some work for Millie, but often feels she is treated as "the help.”

Sandra no longer appreciates spending time with Millie, and I can't say that Millie outwardly shows that she likes Sandra, either.

They share a birthday and Millie gets my wife a somewhat lavish gift and does the same at Christmas.

Naturally, Sandra feels the pressure to reciprocate. Frankly, she doesn't think their friendship is on a level that warrants gift-giving, but is unsure how to decline or end this tradition without making a scene.

She is adamant that she doesn't want to spend any more time than required with Millie.


I can certainly understand her viewpoint, and think it is valid. I would welcome any advice.

– Helpful Husband

Dear Helpful: Your wife might feel more comfortable if she could actually view herself as “the help,” versus feeling pressured to maintain a personal relationship or try to build a friendship with someone she doesn’t like.

If “Sandra” sees herself mainly as “Millie’s” vendor (flower supplier), then she might be more tolerant toward how obnoxious Millie is.


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