Is the friend who flaunts really a friend at all?
Dear Annie: I have been trying to decipher my recent bad feelings toward a friend who is much wealthier than I am. We have known each other for a decade. Whereas she has been married to the same man for over 30 years, I was usually a single mother. Our daughters are about the same age, and we have the same jobs and make the same income. We also were both raised in abusive homes. Here the commonality ends.
I have been poor all my life and have priorities besides money and bank accounts. She has a husband who makes engineering wages, and they go on vacation every year. When she returns, she plasters the atmosphere in front of my face with photos of her latest excursion, and to be honest, I cannot relate and could not care less. I don’t flash photos of burgers in front of a homeless person to show what I had for lunch, which is what I liken her actions to. She has also begun rattling on incessantly about her savings bonds and commenting on how old my car is, which we have to take whenever we go out to save hers. My question is: Am I merely jealous, or is there something to how I feel? I feel violated by her insensitivity. — Less Than
Dear Less Than: A friend doesn’t boast about how great her financial situation is while mocking the condition of your car. At the same time, a friend usually wants to see fun photos of a nice family vacation. Sharing those photos and waving a hamburger in front of a homeless person are two very different things. Considering that you couldn’t care less about her photos and she is making rude comments about your car, this does not sound like a friendship at all. But the fact that you are writing to me leads me to believe that you really like her. Instead of bottling everything in, why not tell your friend how you feel? Remember, you are not “less than.” Tell your friend this is how you feel with her at times, and if she responds helpfully, all will be good. If not, you need to find a new friend.
Dear Annie: I was heartbroken to read the letter to you from “Still Suffering,” the woman who, because of financial hardships and health problems, moved back in with her parents, who abused her when she was a child. I can only imagine how painful and challenging her situation must be.
I am disappointed that you did not direct her to contact women’s resource services in her area. Many areas have services and counseling for women in abusive relationships — at no cost. Though she is not in an abusive romantic relationship, the situation isn’t very different, and one of these agencies might be able to help. Please let her know there are people who are sending her love. — Supportive in Sarasota
Dear Supportive: Thank you for your wise suggestion. Advocates at The National Domestic Violence Hotline can help refer abuse survivors to resources in their area. I encourage anyone in such a position to call. The number is 800-799-7233.
Dear Annie is written by Annie Lane, a young, married mother of two. Send questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.