Dear Abby mug

Abigail van Buren

DEAR ABBY: A friend of 40 years always is saying what she can’t afford, yet she owns property, has a 401(k), always finds additional work in her field and buys the cheapest groceries. She won’t spend a dime, even when it’s necessary.

In a recent text she was going on again about money. When I (jokingly) quipped, “You’re probably a millionaire by now!” she jumped on me as if I’d called her the B-word and went off on a rant. I was dumbfounded. I apologized because she felt I’d badly offended her by calling her a “millionaire.” When she didn’t respond, I left it alone. This was a few days ago. This morning, I got a text from her as if nothing happened.

I no longer am feeling as though I’m her “friend.” Looking back, she was never a good hostess when I flew out of state to visit her, nor has she ever treated me for lunch or dinner, although I was happy to treat her to lunch when she came to visit. I don’t feel the caring, generous, giving aspect that usually goes with long-term friendship. When she was down financially, I offered. I haven’t experienced the same from her. I feel shot down and ready to call it quits. Your expert advice is most appreciated and needed. — Falling out of friendship

DEAR FALLING OUT: Before ending a 40-year friendship, please TELL this woman she hurt your feelings. Then, ask why your casual comment triggered such a strong reaction. Her response to your reasonable question will tell you everything you need to know about whether your relationship is salvageable.

DEAR ABBY: I am a stay-at-home mom of a 4-year-old son who is the light of my life. I truly enjoy our days together. For various reasons, my husband and I have decided he will be our only child. He soon will be in school almost full time, and I will be returning to work. When I think about it, I get depressed. These have been the best years of my life, and I think I made a mistake letting my son become my “reason” for happiness. I know we will make many more memories together, but I feel as though it’s kind of the end of an era, and I’m not sure what to do with myself. Can you advise? — Mommy moving forward

DEAR MOMMY: This might be “the end of an era,” but it is also the beginning of a NEW one. Your son is about to experience the first of many growth spurts and you along with him. In addition to his academic lessons, he’s going to learn how to become independent and relate to other children. Both are vital to his development as a person.

Rather than dwell on your sadness, consider this a time of growth for yourself as well, and focus on the positive. If you can help out at your son’s school, volunteer if you have time outside of work. Depending upon your child’s extracurricular interests (such as sports, perhaps?), you might find yourself involved with those and busier than ever. Because he’s starting school doesn’t mean your role as a mother is done. Quite the contrary.

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 DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.