Dear Abby: A friend of mine from college (I graduated four years ago) is incredibly kind but terrible at keeping in touch. She has never been good at responding to texts, but now that we no longer live in the same area, we don’t communicate.
When she invited me to her wedding, I was surprised because when she got engaged, I reached out to congratulate her and asked for the story of the proposal, and she never responded. Her wedding reception was postponed because of COVID-19, but I watched the Zoom ceremony.
I knew it was hard on her, so I have reached out every month or so for the past four months to tell her I’m thinking of her, but she never replies. I mailed her a card for her wedding, which she also did not acknowledge. She sees my Instagram posts, and I’m connected with her sister and brother-in-law on social media, so I know no harm has come to her, and her cellphone is working.
I miss my friend, but I’m conflicted about whether I should RSVP “yes” to the postponed reception. Normally, I would assume silence means someone doesn’t want to continue a friendship, but she invited me and a plus-one. Should I accept or reach out to a mutual friend to see what’s going on? – Holding Onto Friendship
Dear Holding: You stated that your friend has never been good at responding. The message she’s sending through her extended silence is that you are no longer as important in her life as you were before. Your geographical separation may have something to do with it.
If you would like to attend her reception – when and if it is held – respond affirmatively to the invitation. However, if you do, do not expect to be acknowledged for your effort because those niceties are not in her makeup.
P.S. You can stop sending the “thinking of you” messages because they are not being appreciated in the manner you would like them to be.
Dear Abby: I have a child with autism. He’s my world, and I love him deeply. Because he has special needs, I can’t afford a babysitter, so my parents watch him all the time or I cancel whatever I need to do that day.
Because my parents are my only source of babysitting, they think they don’t have to listen to me. If I tell them the time I give him his medication, so don’t change it, they think he needs it earlier, and they know better than I do. I’m constantly second-guessed, and if they don’t agree with my decisions, they go behind my back. If I buy my son a new toy and my dad doesn’t like it, he screams at me and makes me feel 2 inches tall. He was an absent father, and my mother can’t relinquish control of anything.
I’m at a loss on how to handle this because I know they want what’s best for my child, but so do I. As his mother, shouldn’t I be able to make that decision? – My Child in Illinois
Dear My Child: Yes, you should be able to make decisions regarding your son and expect that they will be respected. However, your parents have you over a barrel, and they know it. You do not have to tolerate it. I suggest you contact the Autism Society (autism-society.org). When you do, you will be connected with a local branch for guidance and options.