Dear Ann Cannon • I recently engaged in a social media discussion that centered on some tough stuff — Utah politics, racial and class discrimination, and women’s rights. In the process, a friend (a real friend of several years, not just a Facebook virtual friend) jumped into the discussion. She posted some clear jabs at me personally, very personal. She knows me well, and she knows of some deeply personal weak points I’ve shared with her and that I continue to work on improving. The barbs touched on the topics in a backhanded way. It truly felt mean and humiliating to me.
I’ve been pondering this event and the future of our friendship for several days. The truth is, when it comes down to friends you can truly trust and call at 3 a.m. for love and support, she really doesn’t rank. I feel I’ve given her years of support during a troubled marriage, relationships with her young children, work issues and more. Yet she rarely reaches out to me. And when she does, she often cancels lunches, coffee dates, etc. Or she finds a way to make real, face-to-face conversation extremely difficult to accomplish.
Is this a good time to bow out of this relationship? It feels like an appropriate time to do so. She texted me a few weeks ago, telling me she needed some “space” from me after my Facebook posts on the political issue mentioned up top. She said she would text when she was “ready” to talk to me.
I am not sure I will ever be “ready.” Honestly, what is your advice about the life of this friendship?
— Facebook Fazes Me
Dear FFM • Wow. I’m sorry that you’ve had such a hurtful experience. It’s one thing to have a friend disagree with you; it’s another to actually feel attacked — and in such a public, personal way, too. Ugh.
It sounds like you’ve already done due diligence where this friendship is concerned. In other words, you’ve examined your relationship from a variety of angles and concluded this person is taking A LOT more than she’s giving, right? Essentially, you’re asking for permission to “bow out.” My take? Some difficult friendships are worth it. This one isn’t for you — at least not anymore. Give yourself permission to say arrivederci, baby, and don’t feel guilty about it.
Dear Ann Cannon • I work in a business that offers few holidays off, with Thanksgiving and Christmas being two holidays a year when my office is actually closed. I look forward to these days off — and find that I have begun to resent the social and family invitations I get for the holidays. I work hard and want to relax. But I don’t want to seem unhappy or unfriendly toward my family and friends who extend invitations for me to visit them. How can I take care of myself and still be social?
— Would Rather Sit All Day in My Pajamas
Dear Pajamas • My first thought was this: Just be honest and tell your family and friends (kindly!) that while you appreciate their invitations, you really need some time to yourself to decompress and so for this year, at least, you’re going to fly solo.
My second thought was this: But how would I feel if you were my adult son or daughter and you told me you didn’t want to spend Christmas with us? (Answer: Sad. And possibly annoyed.)
Then my third thought was this: I’ll get over it — especially if you make me feel like it isn’t personal and also give me some chocolate.
Why not give it a try this year and see how it works out for you and your people, is what I’m saying.