Dear Annie: My friend “Rachel” is very dear to me. We’ve been best friends since the 11th grade. Now that we’ve entered the adult world, however, she’s encountered some difficult situations. She had a drug problem, has always had family problems, lost her license, owes back taxes and has been unemployed for a year.
Rachel has two male roommates who I’m pretty sure were recently homeless. She feeds them and cleans up after them. She has always had an extraordinarily generous heart, and while I admire this, I can’t help feeling a little concerned. Not only are these men taking advantage of Rachel, but they aren’t very clean, and they cough all over everything. They have a dog who hasn’t been bathed in some time, but is eager to give kisses. Rachel allows this dog to lick up leftovers from dinner, and the plates are left in the sink for days before she washes them.
Am I simply being too judgmental about her living situation, or am I right to worry about her health? Another friend mentioned that she confronted Rachel about her two roommates, and Rachel became defensive and angry. How can I approach her about this? I find myself not wanting to step foot in her house again. — Worried and Confused in California
Dear Worried: As long as the dishes are eventually washed with soap and water, it doesn’t matter that the dog licked them and they are piled in the sink. And if Rachel likes to feed and clean up after her roommates, that is her choice. The coughing is an issue only if it is causing Rachel to become ill. (And if there is a possibility of pneumonia or TB, we hope the roommates have been checked.)
But it seems to us that Rachel is at loose ends and is possibly using her caregiving skills as a means to avoid finding a job. You can express your concern and suggest she talk to a professional, but beyond that, she has to steer her own course.
Dear Annie: We are very private people and do not have, nor do we want, a Facebook account. Our friend knows this, but when we sent her a picture of our newest grandchild via e-mail, she posted this picture with full details on her Facebook page without our permission.
We didn’t say anything to her, but of course, we no longer send her any photographs. Please tell your readers that posting such things without permission is a violation of someone’s trust in you. Do you agree? — Not a Facebook Fan
Dear Not: Yes – and no. Many people don’t mind and don’t care. The fact that your friend knows you don’t have a Facebook account doesn’t mean she has any idea that you object to her posting your grandchild’s photograph. She may have thought she was doing you a favor. Please don’t be silent. Tell her you would appreciate it if she would remove the photo immediately and not post any others without permission.
Dear Annie: “Disappointed in Ohio” complained that the husband of one of her friends kept attending their regular all-girl get-togethers. You printed a response from “Omaha,” who said that she and her friends have been having lunch for several years. Since one of their friends has Alzheimer’s, her husband brings her to the luncheon and stays to enjoy lunch with the ladies. “Omaha” said they enjoy his company, and when his wife can no longer attend, they will still invite him.
I want to say hats off to those ladies for including their friend, despite the fact that she has Alzheimer’s, and for their willingness to include her husband. This speaks volumes for the kind of friends they are. And hats off to the husband for going the extra mile to make sure his wife doesn’t miss out on social gatherings. “Omaha” really touched my heart. — Minot, N.D.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.