Dear Amy: Over the last 30 years, my father, a salesman who bounced between “commission only” jobs, has regularly borrowed money from family and friends.
This has resulted in defunct friendships and family disputes due to his inability to pay these loans back.
The most disheartening part is that he was using the money to afford a lifestyle for my mother that was never reasonable.
Now in their 70s and living in an apartment, my father continues to work minimum-wage jobs to make ends meet.
My father continues to ask me for money. I wrote off what I have lent him over the years long ago, but with a family of my own to support I can no longer “write off” anything.
I recently told him I can no longer lend him money. How can I help him understand that he needs help budgeting and should be communicating with my mother?
— Not a Loan Officer
Dear Not a Loan:
Your mother might have some awareness of your father’s financial chicanery. At this stage you should meet with them, together, in order to discuss next steps for them. What if one of them becomes ill or incapacitated? What are their intentions for the later stages of their lives? Realistically, what is your ability to assist them?
Approach them with a loving and open attitude.
Dear Amy, I’ve been best friends with “Sam” for seven years now. We’ve always had a great friendship and have always been close. Unfortunately, her husband and I don’t get along.
I look past that for the sake of our friendship. About a year ago, Sam, her husband and her child invited me to share an apartment. Everything went well for the most part. I avoid her husband, so there is no conflict. I usually spend a lot of time at work or in my room.
A few days ago, Sam’s husband and I got into an argument. Sam decided to take her husband’s side. And without speaking to me she gave our landlord her notice to move.
So now she’s leaving me in a situation, because I can’t afford to stay here alone.
She doesn’t understand why I’m upset. We haven’t spoken in almost a week. I don’t want this to end our friendship!
— Home Alone
Dear Home Alone: You must face the fact that spouses most often back each other up. Sometimes this means even sacrificing a friendship. “Sam” may have seen the writing on the wall, or her husband may have pressured her to move out.
You’ll need to find other roommates. Speaking optimistically, if you find compatible people to live with, you won’t have to hide in your room. With some distance, your friendship may revive.
Dear Amy: Thank you for your response to “Furious Neighbor,” who was considering withdrawing from her neighbor’s life over an incendiary Facebook post. Here’s the line I love: “But should you continue to be a respectful and helpful neighbor to her? Yes, you should. Your behavior should reflect who you are, not who she is.”
Dear Impressed: The high volume of negative responses to my answer didn’t seem to allow for that particular thought. Ultimately, we should all seek ways to reconcile. Thank you for noticing.