Dear Amy: The four of us — “Paul, George, Ringo and John” — have been friends since 1980, our freshman year in college. I’ve known George since second grade.
Through the years we’ve aged, married, three of us have had kids, but we all stuck together as couples, primarily through our love for our alma mater’s football team. That is, until this past Christmas.
That’s when John’s wife, “Yoko,” sent a misdirected text to the whole group. She was very critical of me and George and our wives. We didn’t “like” their posts on social media often enough. It seems trivial, but the venom was over the top.
The text really opened up a window to Yoko’s deep-seated anger. The rest of us had noticed John and Yoko, the only couple without kids, drifting away for a while, but we had attributed that to the normal ebb and flow of life.
My wife and I reached out to them several times and were assured everything was OK. Obviously it wasn’t and, when I reached out to John after the latest blow up, he talked about slights going back 10, 15 years!
I felt terrible that I wasn’t a better friend over those times, but, honestly, I had no idea.
Now, my wife has had enough. George and his wife have had enough. Ringo and his wife are trying to balance the warring camps, and I miss hanging out with John.
It seems like there’s no way we can put the band back together again. But how do I establish some relationship with John, minus Yoko?
We are 59 years old, but this feels like junior high school.
– Missing the Band
Dear Missing: You should contact John independently by email. There is no reason to mention Yoko as the prime mover in this dustup. Furthermore, do not get sucked into a written dialogue about her because she is likely to see (or be told about) whatever you write.
Tell him, “You are obviously upset about several things concerning our friendship going back a long way. I’d like to try to get back on track. Are you willing to talk things through?”
Remember that, as close as you all are, none of us can truly know what private challenges another person faces. You can honor your long friendship by vowing to stay open, offering to listen, and trying your hardest to understand your friend’s point of view.
John should do the same, but you cannot guarantee that he will. He may choose to go solo.
Dear Amy: I’m 21 years old and no longer live at home.
I have a 3-month-old baby girl and a loving soon-to-be husband, but I’m struggling with my parents. They’ve always put me down. My mother is constantly calling me harsh names for no reason.
We were on the phone a few minutes ago and before she hung up I heard her call me a “dumb (expletive).
I don’t know what I did to cause her to say that, and my father isn’t any better.
I moved out because he constantly interrupted my baby’s sleep. He wouldn’t listen to me, and now he tries to guilt me about moving out.
I’m getting married soon and I don’t know if I want them there.
What do I do?
Dear Struggling: You’re a mom now, and you want to raise your baby in a peaceful and respectful environment.
The first couple of years in your daughter’s life will be filled with lessons and discoveries for both of you. Given that your folks are not always positive influences, you will have to be careful and protective of your baby and yourself.
Understand, however, that grandchildren sometimes bring out very different qualities in people, and those parents who are harsh with you might be loving and kind toward your child.
You will need to watch their behavior and continue to make choices regarding contact. If they are abusive, you must stay away from them.
Dear Amy: A friend of several years ghosted me after she had made an important promise and then failed to follow through, leading to a big impact on me. Total ghosting.
Nearly a year later, I accidentally texted her a casual invitation to meet, intended for someone else of the same name – oops!
My former friend responded gladly, saying that she thought I must hate her for letting me down. We resumed our friendship as though there’d never been a break.
– Re-friended By Accident
Dear Re-friended: The fickle finger of friendship fate finds its mark!
(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.)
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