Dear Amy: “Bart” and I have known each other for several years through our wives, who are colleagues. I’m now rethinking my friendship with him.
We have some shared interests, and the four of us have been out to dinner many times (but not recently).
A couple of years ago, I introduced Bart to a sports group. He has been an active participant.
A couple of months ago while playing the sport, I limped away injured.
Bart showed no concern — not once — even though I haven’t played with the group since, and other members have expressed interest and concern.
I’ve helped Bart and his family with various household items on multiple occasions. I’ve never asked for or received anything from him (other than inexpensive obligatory birthday gifts, which our wives insist we exchange). Inevitably, I expect our paths to cross again, and I’m interested to know your take on how to approach him.
I’m obviously low on his priority list, but I don’t want to appear artificially congenial.
I would rather just focus on more deserving people.
— Hurt Feelings in the Midwest
Dear Hurt Feelings: “Bart” sounds like a jerk. There — I said it.
Unfortunately, our human tendency is to let the person who hurts our feelings crash through our chorus line of supporting players and grab the story line. (I think about this most days when I go through my reader mail.)
So first, take a minute and send Bart back into the wings where he belongs, and let his neglect call forth for you the thoughtful and supportive behavior of others.
My suggestion for you moving forward is that you should be very much yourself.
Are you a nice and polite person? Then remain that way.
If you are in a social setting with Bart in the next few weeks and feel comfortable, you could say, “You know I got injured, right? I was wondering why you didn’t mention it …”
He may subscribe to some weird philosophy where thoughtfully noticing another man’s injury would be seen as awkward or embarrassing to the injured party.
Or — he might be a jerk.
Accept that Bart has revealed his limitations to you, and yes — focus on people who bring more positivity and balance into your life.
Dear Amy: My 87-year-old mother and 93-year-old father are sharing a hospital room, as he nears the end of his life.
My oldest sister (the only child living nearby) deals with everything.
During our most recent text exchange, my sister first told me how dire dad’s health is, and then insisted that he can recover.
Having been through something similar with my late husband, I know he will not. I suggested that she talk to someone about what dad will likely experience during palliative care, and that my mother might benefit from talking to a hospital chaplain about deciding between hospice or continuing with treatment.
I also said I will support my sister regardless of what path is chosen for his care, that I know how hard a decision like this can be, but that sometimes the most loving thing we can do is to let a person go.
My sister snapped back that a priest had prayed healing prayers over both parents that day.
Praying over someone is not the same as sitting down and conversing, and my father is not going to “heal.”
I thanked her for letting me know and ended our conversation.
Do you think my best option is to simply thank her for any updates, and keep my mouth shut about everything else?
I want to help her through this.
Dear Upset: You’ve been through this with your husband’s death. Now imagine managing two parents’ end-of-life care. That’s what your sister is dealing with.
I suggest that the “healing prayers” may actually be for her benefit — and I hope they help.
You have the right to share your thoughts, but she is at their bedside. Ask her how you can be most helpful.
If possible, you should travel to be with them in order to support all of them.
Dear Amy: “Hurt” was upset because her husband had listed his mother as his DMV “emergency contact.”
As often as family members travel together, I think using a spouse as an emergency contact is a bad idea.
What’s an EMT to do when trying to reach the emergency contact only to realize they’re the other victim in the car accident?
— Judy, from Somewhere Boring
Dear Judy: Great point. DMV websites do leave room for multiple contacts.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at email@example.com 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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