Dear Amy: I am in a group of four women who have played Bridge together almost every week for more than 25 years.
A year ago, one of the group abruptly cut all of us off. Through a series of texts and emails she told us that she can’t be friends with us anymore.
She wouldn’t make time to see us in person.
She seems to be particularly mad at me. I emailed her trying to find out what had happened.
She started with a paragraph about all my wonderful qualities, but then she said that we can no longer be friends.
She wrote that I’ve done “1,000 things to hurt” her over the years, but she wouldn’t tell me what they were.
Her son is getting married soon and she has invited the other two members of our group, but not my husband and me.
As far as I know, she doesn’t see or talk to the other two, either. I’m quite devastated by this and communicated my feelings.
I’m very hurt that the other two are going to the wedding when I’ve been so slighted and hurt.
I don’t know if I can keep the hurt from affecting the relationship between the remaining three of us.
I’d like your take.
Dear Hurt: I’m not sure it’s fair to judge these other people for accepting an invitation you have been denied.
This former friend has (perhaps deliberately) set a mystery in motion, and this will corrode your other relationships, if you let it. And then you will have lost three friends, instead of one.
I cannot dive in and decode this strange turn of events for you, but in my opinion, it is extremely cowardly to confront someone part-way, crack open a box of mysteries, and then slam it shut. If there is an extreme difference in temperament and personality between the two of you (you are outgoing and assertive, she is shy and passive), she may have felt dominated or silenced.
You could ask your other friends for any insight they might have; one advantage of their glancing contact with this person is that they might bring back some valuable information.
Dear Amy: A few years ago, I started volunteering one day a week for a small, local, nonprofit food organization.
This isn’t my first experience as an involved volunteer, and of course, I’ve also been in various workplaces.
While I enjoyed and felt good about what I was doing, I overlooked the lack of protocols for safety and training, attributing it to the organization’s own growth and learning, especially in these post-pandemic years.
When I tried to address issues as they arose, however, I felt unheard. Nothing was done.
I haven’t felt appreciated or respected by staff or even other volunteers.
A few months ago, I was injured due to the actions of another volunteer.
This person didn’t apologize or show any concern for my well-being. After I filled out an incident report, the staff didn’t check on me, either.
I told them I was taking three months off to focus on family and other responsibilities.
Recently I got a message from the volunteer coordinator asking if I’d enjoyed my time away, and would I like to return?
As much as I care about the cause, I can’t go back if things don’t change there, but I’m not sure how to address these issues.
Should I write a short response indicating that I have concerns, or a longer one outlining all of them as constructive criticism? Or should I let it go and move on altogether?
— Disappointed Volunteer
Dear Disappointed: You should respond by outlining your specific concerns about this organization. Keep your tone neutral, but definitely describe any health and safety violations you witnessed during your time there, as well as the lack of adequate training.
Tell them that you value their mission but that you won’t be returning as a volunteer.
Dear Amy: “Teen With No Experience” worried about gaining sexual experience in high school.
I am surprised and disappointed that you didn’t suggest she consider confiding in her parents, a trusted aunt or uncle, school counselor or minister at her church, with her questions and concerns about sexuality and virginity.
There’s a lot of peer pressure in school.
Don’t dismiss the help and insights people outside her circle of school friends could offer!
— Jeff in Denver
Dear Jeff: Some of these adults might not offer supportive advice, but I do agree with your suggestion, overall.
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