Dear Abby: My sister is driving me and our other sister nuts. There are five years between the three of us. We are all seniors who live in the same city and have always been close. Abby, the oldest talks nonstop. It was always a family joke, but it’s gotten worse. Now she interrupts people to tell her story (after all, everything is all about her).
A cousin we hadn’t seen in several years came to town, and we all had dinner. Not once did my sister ask, “Why are you in town, how are you doing, your family, etc.?” She just talked and talked about herself and her family. It’s no longer a joke; she is just plain rude. It’s getting difficult to be around her. How do we stop her outlandish behavior without hurting her feelings?
All Listened Out in Iowa
Dear All Listened Out: Stopping her outlandish behavior may take some risk, but it’s worth it. Point out to her — as kindly as possible — what she has been doing and how it affects people, and tell her it has to stop before people start avoiding or excluding her. The truth may be unpleasant, but she needs to know.
Dear Abby: I have a childhood friend who is seriously depressed. She sees a medical professional once a month for drugs but doesn’t get counseling. She lives alone and is going through a contentious divorce. She has pretty much alienated her friends and family because she can’t converse without crying and blaming everyone else for her problems.
Do you have any advice on how I might help someone who doesn’t seem able to help herself? I’m at a loss and feel so sad for her.
Sympathetic in South Carolina
Dear Sympathetic: This woman is fortunate to have such a caring friend as you. Suggest to her that she inform the doctor who is prescribing her medication that she needs more help than she is currently receiving. And if she isn’t already aware of it, point out to her that she should go online and explore support programs or groups for divorced people.
Dear Abby; I’m in my second trimester and grateful to have wonderful family and friends who are giving us their old baby clothes and toys. One of my friends, “Jenna,” is also pregnant. She’s still in her first trimester and hasn’t told anyone yet. Our mutual friend “Tisa” just had a baby and is giving me all her baby stuff because she doesn’t know Jenna is pregnant.
I would like her to share the items with Jenna, but don’t know if I should share her secret. Also, because she’s in the beginning stages of pregnancy, I’m not sure if Jenna is even planning for the baby’s arrival just yet. Should I keep the items and let her know I’ll put some aside for her as the months pass?
Dear Thinking Ahead: Do not betray Jenna’s confidence. The announcement of her pregnancy should come from her. However, do tell her you will be receiving a lot of baby clothes from Tisa and offer to share them with her as needed if she wishes.