FRIENDS AND MONEY ARE LIKE MIXING OIL AND WATER, SAYS NENE. KNOW WHEN TO CALL IT A DAY.
Q I know this bloke that looks after his elderly father full-time. The thing is that he complains he’s restricted and can’t meet his friends or go away due to being a full-time carer. But if I suggest looking into aged care and respite care, I get told this is his responsibility and duty. I don’t know if there is much assistance around in aged care unless he has finances. What could I say if this bloke vents about how stuck and restricted he feels? In a way it is his choice to be a full-time carer. SAM, VIA EMAIL. A I was my mother’s full-time carer for seven years. It was thankless and all consuming. I did avail myself of services for the aged. There are lots to choose from and most local councils provide assistance – often for free. I rallied family and friends to look after my mother for a few hours so I could have some ‘me’ time. It would have been easy to complain about my situation but I chose to take on the job. Your ‘bloke’ sounds a martyr. Tell him to stop complaining and do something about organising his life to include free time – not difficult if he makes the effort. In the meantime, he should care for his father in good grace. Q I have had a good male friend for five years now – love at first sight for me but no so much for him. We got to know each other quite quickly and loved spending time together but he wanted to keep it all a secret so nobody would know he liked me as he was worried his mates would laugh at him and make fun as I am overweight. Four years have passed and he is still the same. What should I do, as I love having him in my life? JEWEL, VIA EMAIL. A Being overweight has nothing to do with your love-life. It’s toxic, one-sided and sad. Five years have passed and he still hides you from his friends. For whatever reason (surely not your body shape) he keeps you a secret – your confidence sounds shaky. Be strong and don’t allow this unhealthy romance to continue. It is time he introduced you to his mates. If he refuses then consider moving on. You may love this man but he is bad news. Q A lady I know asked me to pay her car registration and vet bill several months ago. She promised she’d pay me back within six weeks. But time has gone by and I haven’t had any money. I’ve asked several times on a message but had no reply. I asked in person and she got defensive. Would you forget it and put it down to a lesson learnt? I am not getting anywhere asking for the funds back. CHRIS, VIA EMAIL. A Friendship and money are like oil and water. What started out as a kind gesture is now an embarrassment. This lady is truth challenged. She has not honoured her promise, has ignored your messages and confronting her in person also failed to get her to pay up. Say goodbye to the money and to unprincipled friends. Q A neighbour recently let slip to me that a mutual friend of ours is very unwell, but had told her not to mention it to anyone. I think my neighbour thought I might have already known as the woman has been ill for a while. Now I’m not sure whether to raise it with the friend – I’d like to be able to support her but I don’t want to put my neighbour in a difficult position. MARGIE, VIA EMAIL. A Your friend will tell you when she is ready. It’s obvious she does not want to discuss her illness with a lot of people hence asking the neighbour not to tell anyone... so much for staying mum! To raise her illness with your friend is a definite no-no. Of course you would like to support her during a difficult time but you have no idea what she is going through nor what she is dealing with. Do not interfere or get clingy. Behave as you always do – the friendship remains the same. Q I’m in my 70s and had two good friends who are a bit younger than me. They’re both still working and go travelling regularly. Although they make sure to include me in all their conversations, I sometimes feel like I have nothing much to contribute. Is there anything I can do to make sure I have more to talk about when we meet up? BETTY, VIA EMAIL. A If your friends found you boring they would not include you in their conversations. Don’t look at your shoe laces. Hold your head high. Your friends may be younger than you, but I’m sure you have years and years of wonderful memories to talk about. Ask your friends about their travel, their work – people love the sound of their own voices – you’ll find you will not be required to amuse the group, too busy talking about themselves. I’m sure you are just as interesting – maybe older, but wiser.