Cherished Readers, during my weekly lunch with some friends, one mentioned that she is in the midst of dealing with a relative who repeatedly calls her at all hours of the day and night to moan, groan, and complain about her problems. She rarely asks after my friend. Her cup of patience is almost empty. She turned to me for guidance and I told her I needed to think about things. I believe that these types of situations might be common, so after discussing with my friend, she agreed I could share my insights with you. Below you will find what I advised her. Name changed to protect the innocent.
I pondered your situation on the drive home and the first thing that I would like to remind you of is the fact that your phone, be it your landline or cell, is for your convenience only and not for anyone else’s. You are entirely within your rights to only answer the phone when it is convenient for you. I know that you felt guilty letting it go to voice mail so often, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
I am very dismayed that this person only seeks out your listening ear to vent and spew complaints and never asks how you are.
BUT, and it is a big BUT (not like Kardashian sized, but big nonetheless) if you are the only person who listens to her, perhaps there may be an emotional problem that she is suffering from and your being there for her is helping her. Because she is family, I would not cut ties with her; but I would be very honest with her and inform her that because you and your family are very busy there must be a set time when you will take calls. Give her one or two times during the week that you will speak to her and explain that if she calls out of those times, you will not be answering. If there is an emergency, she may text or email. You must control the situation while being loving and considerate.
I feel that one can set boundaries and still be a good friend and we lose nothing by extending these courtesies. In fact, you may find you regain your sanity when dealing with her.
Best Telephone Wishes,
The Lady Hooper-Brackett
Cherished readers, The Lady Hooper-Brackett received an anonymous email asking for advice on a subject that I am sure we all deal with in our lives.
Dear Lady Hooper-Brackett,
Recently I was in a restaurant and I noticed a man kept looking over at me. I didn’t recognize him and kept on with my conversation. Suddenly, I noticed he was approaching the table. He stood near my seat and said ,”I wanted to come over and say hello. Do you recognize me?” I didn’t. He then said , “Weren’t you in the class of 1996 at Stamford High School? Didn’t you go on the senior trip to the Jersey Shore?” It was then my heart dropped. This was the guy that I had a huge crush on in school, the man that I childishly pursued. His way of handling it 20 some odd years ago was to humiliate me and make fun of me publicly.
I was polite and made small talk for a few minutes. He seemed really happy to see me and as though he forgot all of the strangeness from school. Also, I felt bad for him because time wasn’t kind to him and he has lost his looks. But I wonder if I should have been less than polite to him?
Dearest Emailer, The Lady Hooper-Brackett is more concerned about the way this man approached you in public than with how you handled yourself, but perhaps I will touch upon that in another post. To answer your question about your own reaction, this is what I have to say as far as dealing with this situation:
It will never be incorrect to be polite to someone in the circumstances that you detail. No doubt, in the two decades since you have left high school, you have grown as an individual and would never remake the mistakes of youth. You were right to give him the benefit of the doubt and be polite, after all he has no doubt moved on from the follies of his youth. He may not remember the situation from school the same way that you do. The Lady feels that since he made an effort to come to speak to you, then he was happy he had seen you. I feel you handled things nicely in a surprise situation.
The Lady does believe, however, that there is nothing wrong with taking secret delight in the fact that someone who was once rude to you “lost his looks” as you say. In fact, The Lady believes you should be most pleased that you looked enough the same that someone who knew you so long ago would still recognize you.
Best Polite Wishes,
The Lady Hooper-Brackett
Send your own questions to The Lady!