Dear Annie: There is a friend that I met through a place where I used to work, and we stayed friends after we no longer worked together.
We would text every few days. I’ve been to her house for holidays; I’ve met her husband, son and daughter. They’re a nice family. She lives in a beautiful house.
I am not married; I have no kids and no family. Lately, my life has been falling apart. I am unemployed. I am facing foreclosure on my house. I’ve got bills backing up, and my ex-boyfriend moved out with his 50-year-old daughter and never paid me a penny toward bills.
Recently, my friend and I were texting back and forth, and I asked if she had ever been in dire straights. All she said was “Yes.” OK, I thought, if she doesn’t want to talk about it, that’s fine.
So a little later, I continued texting her about other things, but she didn’t reply. I left messages and got no call back from her. I even mailed her a letter by post.
Should I reach out to her anymore? Is she ghosting me? Should I consider this friendship over?
— Dumped Friend
Dear Dumped Friend: Your friend might have gotten nervous that you were on the verge of asking her for money, and perhaps she didn’t want to make you uncomfortable by turning you down.
Or maybe your texts just made her feel guilty about her own situation. Possibly, she’s just dealing with pressing personal issues of her own.
Whatever her reasons might be, I urge you to put all that aside for the time being. Foreclosure, debt, a breakup — these are major life stressors. While a friend can emotionally support you as you sort through such tough problems, she can’t solve them for you. For that, you need professional guidance.
You could start by enlisting the help of a Housing and Urban Development-approved counselor, if you haven’t already. (Visit https://apps.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/hcc/hcs.cfm for HUD’s database.)
Trust your friend isn’t “ghosting” or avoiding you, and that she will break the radio silence eventually if she is a friend worth having. Then the two of you can talk about what caused the dead air in the first place.
Dear Annie: My heart goes out to “Baffled Mother-in-Law,” and I may have an explanation for her daughter-in-law’s behavior. The “walking on eggshells” description is characteristic of borderline personality disorder. I believe my father-in-law was affected by this. We never knew when something we said or did in all innocence would tick him off, and we’d receive what we referred to as “flaming emails” accusing us of all sorts of things.
I encourage “Baffled Mother-In-Law” to do some research. There are several books available on the subject and how to deal with someone who has the disorder. I hope this helps.
— Been There ... Done That.
Dear Been There ... Done That: Thank you for your insight into borderline personality disorder.
I encourage anyone who is in a similar situation to read up on this disorder along with anxiety.
However, my most important suggestion is to seek answers from professionals in the health care field, individuals who are devoting their lives to learning and studying about, and helping people, with psychiatric disorders.
Annie Lane, a graduate of New York Law School and New York University, writes this column for Creators Syndicate. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.