Dear Abby: Recently my husband and I invited a couple that we are close with to accompany us on a 10-day bus trip. After the first couple of days, they started doing everything on their own — going to dinner, excursions, etc. We noticed it right away, and wondered what was going on. After a while we began doing our own thing and leaving them alone, which they appeared not to mind. Now that we’re back home from the trip, we’re having trouble getting over the fact that we were almost completely ignored during the entire trip. It’s not that we cared that they did things on their own, but when we invited them it was so we could spend some time together and at least have dinner together. We’re thinking of ending the friendship and seeing them only at group gatherings, but we hate to end a more than five-year friendship. I must add that they’ve done this several times prior to the bus trip, but other friends were with us, so we let it go. They are both reserved and loners. Of course, we’ll never travel with them again, but how do we go about even having a friendship with them?
Dear Ignored: Let this go. Do not excommunicate this couple because they didn’t live up to your expectations. Now that you know the extent to which they are “reserved loners,” plan your social lives accordingly. Enjoy them with others to the extent that you can, and see them for brief encounters, preferably ones that include other couples. P.S. I travel only with friends I know very well and with whom I know I am compatible. Before the trip, I make sure to discuss my expectations with them and am clear about theirs. Take a page out of my book, and you will experience fewer disappointments.
Dear Abby: A bunch of kids on my high school soccer team continually and intentionally mispronounce my name as a joke. I have corrected them on many occasions, but it only made it worse. They think it is hilarious, and my coaches don’t do anything about it. I don’t know what to do.
Dear Annoyed: Try ignoring it. However, if that doesn’t stop them, recognize that ridicule isn’t humor. In fact, it can be construed as a form of bullying. Because you have spoken to the coaches and they refuse to intervene, talk with the school principal about it. And if that doesn’t solve your problem, your parents should have a meeting with the administrator and put a stop to it.
Dear Abby: My wife and I love animals and have several. Currently, my wife’s health isn’t great, and I have become worn out taking care of the animals. I worry for her, our retirement and my health as well. Caring for the animals has become too much. What should I do?
Time to Change in California
Dear Time: The first thing to do is have a realistic talk with your wife about the fact that caring for your animals has become too much — to the point that you are becoming worried about your own physical (and financial) well-being. Then see if you know people who would like to adopt them. If no one is willing, an animal rescue group might be able to find them homes in which they will be cared for and treated well.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.