Life Advice



Ask Amy: Old friend is too curious about birth mystery

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: In the years following college, I had a close group of friends. As the years passed and our lives moved in different directions, our contact with each other gradually lessened, but we'd still keep in touch via Facebook, email, text, and the occasional dinner get-together.

One of the girls in this group, “Sheila,” moved to a different country several years ago.

She was single and "looking."

In my communications with her afterward I tried not to pry about her dating life since I realize that not everyone likes being asked about that.

Fast-forward to a few months ago. Another friend from that group who was staying in that country thought she saw Sheila post in a Facebook group (in that country's language), asking for things for a four-month-old baby.

My friend asked me if I knew of anything about Sheila having a baby (I didn’t).

My curiosity got the best of me, and I asked another one of our friends who had been keeping in closer touch with Sheila if she knew anything about this.

She apparently didn't want to tell me anything about the situation herself and suggested that I ask Sheila directly.

I felt awkward bringing this up out of the blue with Sheila, but that's what I did.

She replied that things have been really busy with her and she'd like to catch up soon.

I didn't hear from her for a few more months, and then just yesterday she messaged and said that she had a baby a couple weeks ago and that mother and baby are doing well.

I replied with a congratulatory message and that for some reason I thought she had already had a baby before.

She is being very evasive about all this baby news. I'm guessing because this did not happen in a traditional way (she has made no mention of a significant other).

Do I just need to wait this out to find out more details about this huge milestone in her life?

– Curious Cat

Dear Curious: Your friend “Sheila’s” choice to move to another country is starting to make sense!

I jest, of course. Yes, it is understandable that her baby news is of interest to her old friends.

The most respectful way to respond is to react to her news exactly the way she has presented it, not to gossip or speculate about her to others in your circle, and to express your genuine happiness that she and her baby are doing well.

Her previous plea for baby things might have been on behalf of someone else, or it might have been for her first child – and this baby is her second.

You’ll have to be patient and allow her to disclose details about her own life in her own way and on her own timetable.


Dear Amy: My 70-year-old uncle and aunt (also 70) are separated after 33 years of marriage.

He bought her a house a year and a half ago — out of state and near her newly married son who works there, so that she can see him often.

Her two other children are from his first marriage, and he seems to put them over my aunt — being much closer to them than to her.

He does visit his wife a couple times a year and does call her frequently.

He pays for all her expenses, and they occasionally go on short trips together. She still cannot figure out why she can’t come home!

Do you have any suggestions, as she seems very upset with this situation.

– Concerned

Dear Concerned: From your description, it sounds as if your aunt was given the opportunity, and then chose to move away. Did her husband lie to her when presenting her options?

It also sounds as if she doesn’t have any legal closure regarding her newly hybridized marriage-which-isn’t-a-marriage.

While her husband’s financial (and occasional emotional) largesse currently benefits her in some ways, her life would be further upended if he suddenly withdrew it, which he could do.

I hope you will help her to get legal representation.

Dear Amy: I loved your answer to “Left Out,” who felt bad because this year she wasn’t invited to an annual group outing that she had never in the past attended.

You wrote: “Life presents many opportunities to feel bad, if you try hard enough.”

Thanks for the reminder.

– Working on It

Dear Working: Many times, my “wisdom” comes directly from something I’ve needed to work on in my own life.


(You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

©2022 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.



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