Dear Annie: Pushy friend gets hurt
Dear Annie: One of my friends has always been bossy. She criticizes everything, from my hairstyle to my language. But she can be fun, and I’ve put up with her personality quirks, without question or correction.
All my friends know I’m not a tech person. But this one friend believes I should be. She made me an email address three or four years before I even had an internet-enabled device. She insisted that I have a cellphone because I’d “be so much easier to reach.” Even after being told not to, she sent me a Nexus, saying, “If you use it, you’ll learn to love it.”
That was the last straw. I told her to stop pushing tech on me or I’d find reasons to not spend time with her. She called me “paranoid” and accused me of “reading into” a simple gift. But she agreed to drop the subject. We went to lunch and had a lovely time afterward.
But then I was informed by her family members that they didn’t want to have any further contact with me because I’d “hurt her feelings” and been “rude.”
OK, if I’m not good enough for her family, why would she want to spend time with me? So I took back to her some things that I’d borrowed. I gave them to her, told her to have a good life and left her with her mouth hanging open.
Now a couple of friends say I overreacted. Most say they would have done the same thing.
So who is right? One says I should just put up with her; after all, everyone has flaws. Most would have blocked her and just never spoken to her again, saying no explanation would be needed. One has a long confrontation ending in a big yelling match in mind, “just to put her in her place.”
I was willing to have a different friendship, an upgrade of sorts. But I’m not willing to be the only one who changes.
How should I have handled the situation? — Tech No
Dear Tech No: Friends should bring out the best in us, not the worst. I agree it wasn’t right for this woman to continue pushing technology on you after you expressly told her to stop. What I don’t understand is why you lashed out so severely after hearing from her family that she was upset. You didn’t just jump to conclusions; you took a flying leap. It almost seems as though you were waiting for the chance.
So rather than ask me and straw-poll your social circle about who’s right, you should be asking yourself whether you’re really looking to reconcile. If she is always controlling and critical toward you, perhaps the friendship is toxic. If that’s the case, the healthiest thing you can do is walk away. No yelling, no gossiping, just quiet dignity and self-respect.
Dear Annie: I have some advice for “Long-Distance Grandparents.” The grandfather has not spoken to his son in 15 years but has an ongoing email exchange with his granddaughter.
Speaking from experience, I suggest he get in his car and drive to see his granddaughter. He should tell her what is in his heart. If she misses him as much as he misses her, I think she will throw her arms around him and cry. He needs to remember she was just a kid when this started.
This worked well for me, and I now have a wonderful relationship with my granddaughter. By the way, it might work for his son also. Can’t hurt to try. — Carolina Granddad
Dear Carolina Granddad: I love this suggestion. I’m printing it here for “Long-Distance Grandparents”‘ benefit and for the benefit of anyone in a similar situation.
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