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Dear Amy: My best friend’s mother can no longer drive, so they are selling her car.
I asked her how much they were asking for the car. The reply: “For you, $500.” I said, “Consider it sold. I will buy it for my daughter.”
I called my daughter to go over and test drive it. She did and got the VIN number to get the insurance on the vehicle before she picked it up.
My girlfriend asked her to come get the car on Friday.
However, my daughter got very sick on Friday and went to the doctor. She was in terrible pain and went back to the doctor on Saturday.
The doctor thinks she has kidney stones.
I got a text from my friend saying she hadn’t heard from my daughter. I explained that she was very sick.
I asked if it could wait until next week and she said, “Sure.”
My daughter was moving and had to be out of her place by Sunday.
While I agree that a phone call from her to explain why she was not able to get the car would have been nice, I’m sure she just forgot.
Then my friend texted me that she still hadn’t heard from her on Saturday or Sunday morning.
She called me on Sunday night, saying that they decided not to sell the car, after all.
Now I feel slighted.
My daughter is still sick, and I feel bad.
How do I get over this?
– Stuck in Reverse
Dear Stuck: When they agreed to sell this car to you, after the test drive you should have then paid them promptly and closed the deal. You don’t seem to have done that.
If you had paid for the car, then your daughter’s valid excuses for not taking possession wouldn’t have mattered as much, and they would not have been able to take back their offer.
As it is, the delays gave the family time to reconsider their choice, and because the car still belonged to them, they exercised their right to change their minds. Your friend then notified you promptly, which was the right thing to do.
You should chalk this up to a case of unfortunate timing and do your best to move on.
Dear Amy: I had some truly dear friends for over 10 years who were with me through good times and bad.
They moved away. I try to keep in touch, but I find that I am always the one to initiate contact; they never make the first move to call or send a text.
While I love these friends dearly, I can’t help but wonder if they were “seasonal” friends, and now it’s time for me to move on.
Should I communicate my feelings, or just let things go and be grateful for the good times we had?
– Lost in L.A.
Dear Lost: The most important aspect of this dilemma is how you feel when you communicate with these friends. Do you sense that they are delighted to hear from you? Do they take an interest in your updates? Do they follow a phone call from you with a text telling you how nice it was to catch up?
My point is that some people don’t ever seem to initiate, for a variety of reasons – some of which have nothing to do with how they feel about you. Something as simple as a time zone difference can throw people off (if you’re on the West Coast and they’ve moved east).
You can certainly tell them: “I love catching up with you, but I always make the first move. It’s pretty frustrating, and I’m trying not to take it personally.”
This sort of statement doesn’t terminate the friendship, but opens the door for them to acknowledge, apologize, and make an effort to get back on track with you.
After that, you can go quiet if you want to, knowing that you’ve stated your case, without guilting them into a corner.
Dear Amy: In your response to “Good Auntie,” who was wondering how to address their non-binary family member, you missed an educational lesson when you stated “…and loves her nieces and nephews without harsh judgment – just as they are.” Unfortunately, you only used gendered identifiers.
The gender-neutral term for “the child of one’s sibling” is “nibling.”
– We Learn Something New Every Day
Dear Every Day: During moments like this, my late mother would often wonder aloud: “Have I lived too long?”
Thank you for the lesson.