Dear Abby: I have had a best friend for more than 20 years. We met when we were 18 and have been inseparable ever since. I was best man in his wedding, and when his first child was born, I traveled six hours to be at the hospital when “Sara” was born. I have never missed a birthday or Christmas.
When my friend announced they were moving from Ohio to Arizona, I knew I couldn’t be away from him and his family, so I moved, as well. I have no family of my own, and I adore his two girls.
Well, Sara turned 13 this year and like most teenagers, she’s distancing herself from her family and even more so from me. When her mom and dad invite me for dinner or a family get-together, she barely acknowledges me when I say hi or ask how she’s doing. She wants nothing to do with me. It breaks my heart. I love her and I consider her to be family.
My question is, should I continue to go and support her with her sporting events at school? (I have never missed a game.) Do I continue to shower her with birthday and Christmas gifts?
On one hand, I tell myself this is just a phase she is going through and to change nothing, hoping one day she realizes that I’m her biggest cheerleader and recognizes the love I have for her. On the other hand, I think she’s acting like a spoiled brat, and if she doesn’t know how to treat people, then I want nothing to do with her. How should I handle this?
Un-Uncle in Arizona
Dear Un-Uncle: I am sure what you are feeling isn’t any different than what Sara’s parents are feeling right now. I agree that she is probably going through a phase and “just being a teenager.” My advice is to give her some space and hope that when she finally pulls out of it she will recognize how lucky she is to have such a loving un-uncle. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you.
Dear Abby: My sister and I are senior citizens with health problems, so we share an apartment to minimize expenses and to be sure someone is around if needed. My brother and his wife sometimes socialize with us.
The problem is, my brother has a friend. The friend and his wife constantly use foul language. I don’t like hearing the F-bomb used as an everyday part of speech. I have tried modeling correct behavior and not cursing, but it hasn’t worked. How can I ask them to stop without alienating them and losing my brother and his friend?
Appalled in New Jersey
Dear Appalled: In recent decades there has been a coarsening of the language many individuals use on a daily basis, and it’s regrettable. However, that doesn’t mean you must listen to it and remain silent.
The next time it happens, tell your brother and his friends that when they use the F-bomb, it makes you and your sister uncomfortable and ask them to please refrain from dropping it when they are with you. That’s not an unreasonable request, and it shouldn’t alienate anyone.
Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.