Ask Amy

Dear Amy: “Don” has been my best friend since ju­nior high school. He moved to the op­po­site end of the coun­try over a decade ago, but we’ve stayed close for decades.

The Denver Post - - FEATURES - by Amy Dick­in­son

Don has al­ways been what I would call a “big talker.” He em­bel­lishes ev­ery story and makes his life seem much big­ger than it is. I have al­ways ac­cepted this about him and take his sto­ries with a grain of salt.

Ever since he moved away, he has talked to me about “bring­ing me there” to work with and/or for him.

Af­ter go­ing through a divorce and once my kids fin­ished school, he in­vited me to his time-share — all ex­penses paid. While vis­it­ing him, he said that any time I wanted a job with the com­pany he worked for, that I should let him know.

I was laid off right be­fore the hol­i­days last year. I was shocked.

I reached out to Don and men­tioned his of­fer. Well, along came the ex­cuses: “No one is in the of­fice around the hol­i­days.” “It’s slow right now.” “Things will pick up later.”

I ended up get­ting a job with a dif­fer­ent com­pany sev­eral months later. I felt in­cred­i­bly slighted by Don. I thought — de­spite his “big talk” — that this of­fer was le­git­i­mate. Since then, I have dragged my feet an­swer­ing texts, not tak­ing his calls, etc. I would like to have my friend back, but feel quite be­trayed by his lies. Should I just let this friend­ship of 35-plus years die? — Sad

Dear Sad: Ghost­ing a very old friend is not an ef­fec­tive or sat­is­fy­ing way to con­duct a friend­ship, even if your in­ten­tion is to end it.

You had am­ple ad­vance no­tice that your friend “Don” is a blow-hard. Peo­ple like Don talk a big game in or­der to ar­ti­fi­cially in­flate oth­ers’ opin­ions of them. This ten­dency is most im­pact­ful when the stakes are high, and you’re re­ly­ing on him to make good on his word.

I don’t blame you for ig­nor­ing a life­time of con­sis­tent be­hav­ior and red flags in or­der to try to take Don up on his gold-plated job of­fer, but surely you knew on some level that he would not come through.

Tell him, “I’ve got an­other job now, so I’m OK, but I’m still very dis­ap­pointed that you dan­gled job op­por­tu­ni­ties that never ma­te­ri­al­ized.” He’ll blow a lot of hot air in your di­rec­tion. And then you can de­cide if his charms and your his­tory to­gether make it worth­while for you to main­tain con­tact.

Dear Amy: I like to en­ter­tain in my home and of­ten in­vite the same group of close friends to din­ner par­ties. Some­times peo­ple bring a host­ess gift. Usu­ally I’m in the process of greet­ing peo­ple at the door, and I don’t know what to do with these gifts.

If it’s flow­ers (hope­fully al­ready in a vase), I put them on the ta­ble or counter, but other gifts I sim­ply set aside to open later when ev­ery­one has left.

I thank the giver, but I hes­i­tate to make a big deal about the gift be­cause I don’t want peo­ple to think that gifts are re­quired or ex­pected.

Is this a good re­sponse? And what should I do when some­one brings food to my din­ner party? Am I re­quired to serve it? Their tray of dev­iled eggs doesn’t re­ally go with my lasagna, but what would I do with it, oth­er­wise? — Con­fused Host­ess

Dear Con­fused: If some­one brings dev­iled eggs to your house, ship them to me im­me­di­ately. Oth­er­wise, yes, you should leave the tray on the ta­ble for peo­ple to sam­ple be­fore din­ner.

If the same per­son tends to al­ways ar­rive with food, when you is­sue the next in­vi­ta­tion, you could say, “You’re al­ways gen­er­ous, but I have my meal mapped out, so please don’t bring any­thing. Or — just a bot­tle of wine would be great, if you are in­clined.”

Peo­ple who don’t en­ter­tain at home might feel that con­tribut­ing to your meal is one way of cre­at­ing so­cial bal­ance. Part of you be­ing a gra­cious host is ac­cept­ing this gen­eros­ity (within rea­son).

Don’t open host­ess gifts un­less they are per­ish­able and — yes, ac­knowl­edge and thank the giver later.

Dear Amy: I liked your ad­vice to “Not a Fan,” the woman whose quiet neigh­bor­hood was shat­tered when a pro­fes­sional ath­lete moved in next door.

How­ever, her first call should be to the PR per­son or GM of the sports team that em­ploys the ath­lete. They would want to know. — Sports Fan Dear Fan: I agree.

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