DEAR ABBY: I’m a woman who has always had trouble with women friends who like to call and chat. It has never really been my thing. One of them never asks if I’m busy; she just plunges into a conversation that usually lasts an hour. I never call her. If she asks me to return her call, I’ll wait a day or two.
I’m afraid to tell her I don’t like spending that kind of time on the phone because I know it will hurt her feelings. I have lost friends in the past because of this. I think instead of avoiding her calls and feeling guilty, I’d rather not have her as a friend. I’d be happier reading a book or working on my hobbies. Am I being silly? — AMBUSHED IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
DEAR AMBUSHED: It’s time to be honest with this woman — to a point. To tell her you would rather not have her as a friend because she’s long-winded on the phone would be unkind. However, it would not be inappropriate to level with her about how uncomfortable long telephone calls are for you, and give her a chance to amend her behavior. She’s not a mind reader and she may not be aware that her calls are intrusive.
DEAR ABBY: My 24-year-old son, “Nick,” is marrying his fiance next fall. My family loves Nick dearly, but they have never been able to come to terms with the fact that he is gay (he came out 10 years ago).
My family is very conservative religiously, and this is tearing us apart. Family members are taking stands about who is coming to the wedding and who isn’t. Those who aren’t coming are wanting to meet with my husband and me to explain their stance.
We are saddened that they feel the way they do, but ultimately, it’s their decision. My ulcers are a mess, and my husband isn’t sleeping. We just want to share a wonderful day with our son and his fiance without the joy being sucked out of this special event. How do I keep my family together without losing my sanity? — IOWA MOM
DEAR IOWA MOM: You can’t plaster over the split in your family because you aren’t the cause. Ensure Nick’s wedding will be the happy occasion it’s supposed to be by celebrating it with friends and relatives who are supportive. You will suffer fewer ulcers and your husband will sleep better if you stop forcing yourself to listen to the self-justification of family members your son and his husband likely will have little or nothing to do with in the future.
DEAR ABBY: I found out I have breast cancer again, except this time I am dying. I do not know when. I have told family and friends about the cancer, but not about the fact that it will be terminal. How can I get some of them to come and visit me while I’m still feeling good? I have asked, but only about three have come. I feel lonely, Abby. I don’t drive, so it’s difficult. I feel life is still good, so what can I do? — LIVING IN THE PRESENT IN MAINE
DEAR LIVING: I’m sorry about your prognosis. While you can still enjoy their company, you should level with the people you care about and tell them what’s going on. That way, fewer of them will procrastinate, and you can have the emotional support you need during this difficult time.
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