Dear Amy: A friend of 35 years recently “broke up” with me via email.
It was due to politics, I conclude, although we have never discussed politics in person, by phone, or email. However, I frequently post my convictions on Facebook. I aim to be civil and to back up my opinions with factual, credible links.
My friend and I have never had a dialogue on FB about politics or candidates. Still, out of the blue, she sent me an email and said, “I don’t like what you put on Facebook and I can’t be friends with you anymore. Have a nice life.” That was it. After 35 years.
I could understand that action if I had pressed my case over lunch or sent links in emails. I never did. I have a couple of relatives/friends who post on FB extolling their support for the candidate I find objectionable, and my choice is just to scroll by and not engage.
My husband says, “You’ve been treated unfairly and poorly, so consider it done and move on.” Still, there’s a deep hurt over this.
Dear Hurt: You seem to believe that others should use Facebook, and respond to postings, the way you do. But when you post opinions on Facebook, you are (basically) shouting into a megaphone in the town square. Some people may choose to walk on by, but others will listen, pay attention, and may object to your positions.
You seem to believe that your friend should only object to your political opinions if you share them personally. That is extremely naive, and somewhat disingenuous. Because you two have never discussed politics, it’s possible that she simply did not know where you stood — until now.
I agree that it is unfortunate that this friend of many decades has slammed the door on your relationship. Her behavior reveals her own limitations and extreme sensitivities.
If I were you, I would respond to her email, saying, “I am very shocked about your choice to end our friendship. If I have posted something that you found personally offensive, I am truly sorry. I believe our long friendship is worth at least a conversation, but you don’t seem open to that. I wish you were.”
Dear Amy: I’m so upset. My youngest daughter is pregnant with her second child. My oldest daughter has planned a baby shower for next month.
I am 63 years old and my spouse is 74. I am so scared to attend this shower, but I will feel guilty if I don’t.
There have been 30 guests invited, and it will be held indoors.
What should I do? This has me totally stressed out.
Mom and Gram
Dear Mom: You would (and should) expect your daughters to take good care of themselves, correct? Well, you have to take care of yourself, too. Taking care of yourself is quite literally your first job in life.
Consider this: If you or your spouse got seriously ill, it would quite literally blow a hole through the center of your entire family.
Nobody who loves you should ever attempt to make you feel guilty for taking care of yourself.
It is a given that you wish you could attend this event safely. Yes, you will feel sad to miss it. But if you are feeling guilty with no prompting, that’s on you.
My take on this is that if anyone should feel guilty, it might be the people who are planning this event. If they are diminishing your very rational concerns or pressuring you to override your concerns in order to attend this shower, then they are being shortsighted and selfish.
More likely, they have invited you because they love you and don’t want you to feel left out, but they don’t want you to override your own concerns, and are just waiting for you to regretfully decline.
Dear Amy: Thanks for the advice you provided to “Trying to Do the Right Thing,” the couple who planned to foster children of color in their white family.
I am a person of color. I have faced obvious and subtle racist comments and actions from others. Racism and racists will always be with us.
Children will learn and grow. The parents should prepare the children that such people exist and help them to develop skills to react and respond appropriately.
And people do change, too. Seeing the extended family growing multi-racially may change a person’s racial perspectives.
Dear Been There: Absolutely. Thank you.
You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.