DEAR ABBY: I have a friend from college I’m really close to, but they have begun an annoying habit I need help addressing. We live more than 1,000 miles apart, and over the past six months, I’ve noticed that my friend has been giving me unsolicited advice on daily tasks that don’t concern them. At first it didn’t bother me. Now it’s happening three or four times a week.
I think they mean well, but the “friendly” reminders are beginning to come across as condescending. Some examples: If I mention what I’m making for dinner, I’ll be reminded to make sure the chicken is cooked to the correct temperature. I have a vacation planned, and I was just reminded that in order to go I need to have flights booked.
I’m afraid I may be overreacting, which is why I haven’t said anything. However, these constant reminders are frustrating and leave me with the impression that my friend thinks I’m stupid or incapable of taking care of myself. What’s your advice on how to handle this? — NOT A KID AND NOT STUPID
DEAR NOT: A way to handle it would be to ask your friend why the advice was being offered. If you say you’re making chicken for dinner and you are advised to be sure it’s cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees, calmly ask why the person felt it was necessary to say it. The same goes for your travel plans and any other unsolicited advice you receive. If you ask the question, you may find that your old friend isn’t questioning your intelligence, but simply trying to be helpful.
DEAR ABBY: My niece is getting married. This has been a very stressful time for her family. My sister calls me in tears every night because of the hurtful things her daughter has said to her. Until now, they had a good relationship. I know weddings can be a nightmare for families, even those who are close, because the bride can turn into a “bridezilla.” It is HER wedding, although my sister is paying for everything.
Her daughter and the fiance are in their 30s and have well-paying jobs but are very happy to have my sister foot the bill. Sometimes I want to shake my niece and tell her to grow up and show some respect. Is there anything I can do to help my sister other than listen and be there for her? I’m getting worried about her health because of the stress, and she refuses to take care of herself. — FEELING HELPLESS IN THE EAST
DEAR FEELING HELPLESS: I am sure you are aware that most couples in their 30s who have well-paying jobs foot the bill for their own weddings. Your sister has created this monster with her checkbook. At this point, the most helpful thing you can do for her is what you have been doing — letting her vent so she doesn’t blow a gasket from the pressure.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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