Dear Abby: Faraway friend keeps asking us to visit but won’t travel to see us

Not only does he not visit, he doesn’t even bother to call when he’s in the same state.

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DEAR ABBY: We moved from Indiana to Florida 30 years ago. Ten years later, I moved back for a job, but returned to Florida after 9/11. I recently received a letter from a friend telling me that I hadn’t visited Indiana in 14 years.

This friend, who has been in a long-standing relationship for 40 years, visited us once in Florida 28 years ago. He surprised us by coordinating a liaison during that visit with an old boyfriend — who slept over. It was very awkward. This friend hasn’t visited us here again, but did travel to Miami. We drove eight hours round-trip to see him and his partner. He considered this “visiting us.”

I know from others that he and his partner have come down to Florida often over the past 30 years without calling or seeing us. I was also close to his sisters when we lived in Indiana, but only one visited us — 26 years ago — and never again. Another sister has a condo an hour south of us and has never contacted us despite visiting her condo at least once a year.

Have I missed something? The sisters don’t communicate with me. Why must I be the traveler? Why can’t they call when they visit the area? Should I include this in my letters to my friend, which are frequent? He guilted me in his last letter. How should I word my response? I feel a need to say something, but I want the words to be right. — ONE-SIDED IN FLORIDA

DEAR ONE-SIDED: You and this person are pen pals, nothing more. If you enjoy the correspondence, ignore the attempt at a guilt trip if that’s what the comment was intended to be. You and his sisters are acquaintances, not friends. Their lack of communication with you should have sent that message. I cannot understand why you should chase after them. Stop nursing grievances. Concentrate on the people in your life who actually reciprocate your friendship and you will be much happier.

DEAR ABBY: I have been married for almost three years to an incredible man. It’s the third marriage for both of us. I have an older daughter, and he has two older children — a son and a daughter. Last year, they both welcomed their own children.

I’m not sure where I fit in when it comes to being a grandparent. Friends of mine said I am a grandma. I say, “By default, I am a grandma.” My friends also said instead of calling me “Grandma,” the grandkids could call me something else to differentiate between their biological grandmas and me. I recently signed a birthday card for one of the grandkids and wasn’t sure if I should sign just my name “Louise” or “Grandma Louise,” so I settled on “G-ma Louise.”

Because of COVID, we hadn’t been able to visit much with the grandkids. However, when it comes to gifts, I’m usually the one picking them out and, in some cases, my husband and I split the cost. In my heart, I feel they are my grandkids, but I don’t think my husband’s kids view me that way. AM I a grandma? — STATUS UNKNOWN IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR STATUS UNKNOWN: You are as much a grandma as you would like to be, and to the extent the children’s parents will allow it. Many families agree on the names the grandparents are called, and I see no reason why yours should be an exception.

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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in “What Every Teen Should Know.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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