Frac­tured friend­ship

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK - An­nie Lane

DEAR AN­NIE >> I’ve been friends with this girl for sev­eral years. She’s my (adult) daugh­ter’s age. We have never had a dis­agree­ment be­fore. Long story short, she said some­thing out of the blue that hurt my feel­ings. She says she was joking but the fact re­mains that she hurt me. She won’t apol­o­gize, and now she’s stopped speaking to me. When I run into her, she gives me the silent treat­ment, which I think is im­ma­ture. And I think that she was never re­ally my friend if she could do this. We used to, I thought, en­joy each other’s com­pany. I even gave her my house key to watch my dog when I’m out of town, and my dog is my ev­ery­thing. I guess she’s re­ally changed. What do you think?

— Fake Friends

DEAR FAKE FRIENDS >> To say that she’s a “fake friend” im­plies some sort of in­ten­tional de­ceit all along, which doesn’t seem to be the case. So I don’t think she was a fake friend; I think she was just not a very good one. Don’t bend over back­ward try­ing to guess her in­ten­tions, and don’t bog your­self down with car­ry­ing a grudge, ei­ther. Let her come to you if and when she’s ready to make things right. In the mean­time, nur­ture new friend­ships — and find a new dogsit­ter.

DEAR AN­NIE >> I am a 58-year-old gay man. I al­ways wanted a part­ner. But I have been alone all my life. I do have a daugh­ter and four grand­chil­dren. None of them con­tact me. I’ve tried to con­tact them. I also have five brothers. Again, no­body calls or is good about call­ing me back.

My mother passed in 2014. She never ac­cepted me be­cause of my sex­u­al­ity, and her at­ti­tude in­flu­enced my dad’s and brothers’ at­ti­tudes to­ward me. I tried over the years to bring them into my life.

I am not nasty or cold or any­thing like that. I help peo­ple when I can. Chil­dren and an­i­mals are the ones I help the most. Through­out my life, I have adopted 13 an­i­mals, from cats and dogs to goats and birds. Over the hol­i­days, I go out and buy presents for the four grand­chil­dren. I do­nate money to shel­ters in my state.

I re­ally don’t know why I’m writ­ing this to you; I don’t ex­pect any an­swers. I am just very lonely and sad be­fore my birth­day. I’d take any ad­vice you have. Thanks for read­ing this, and God bless you. — Lonely and Sad for My

Birth­day

DEAR LONELY >> I am sorry that your fam­ily re­la­tion­ships are strained and have been a source of great pain. But that doesn’t mean you have to be sad on your birth­day.

Make it a day for cel­e­brat­ing life and lov­ing your­self. Do some­thing that hon­ors your val­ues, such as tak­ing a trip to an an­i­mal sanc­tu­ary where you can spend time with res­cued an­i­mals, hik­ing in na­ture, vis­it­ing a mu­seum or town you’ve al­ways wanted to see, or do­ing any­thing else that re­stores some seren­ity to your soul.

Do not hang your hopes on fam­ily mem­bers’ call­ing. Let it be a pleas­ant sur­prise if they do. It sounds as though they have their own lim­i­ta­tions that might ren­der them in­ca­pable of of­fer­ing you the love and sup­port that a fam­ily should. Know that that is no re­flec­tion you or what you de­serve. Find mean­ing­ful and sup­port­ive re­la­tion­ships else­where. Check out Meetup. com, which con­nects peo­ple lo­cally around shared in­ter­ests. Con­sider tak­ing lessons in a sport or hobby that you’ve been cu­ri­ous about. Don’t sit and wal­low on your birth­day or any other day. Treat each day like the present it is. Happy birth­day.

“Ask Me Any­thing: A Year of Ad­vice From Dear An­nie” is out now! An­nie Lane’s de­but book — fea­tur­ing fa­vorite col­umns on love, friend­ship, fam­ily and eti­quette — is avail­able as a pa­per­back and e-book. Visit http://www.cre­ator­spub­lish­ing.com for more in­for­ma­tion. Send your ques­tions for An­nie Lane to dear­an­[email protected]­ators.com.

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