Annie Lane: How to get my BFF to stop walking all over me

Published 6:09 pm Friday, February 4, 2022

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Dear Annie: Two years ago, I lost my husband to terminal cancer after 30 years of marriage. I kept him at home during his final days with the help of hospice and our three children.

Throughout this terrible time of my life, my BFF (best friend forever) was supportive, loving and available to listen to my fears and range of emotions. Being a widow herself, she understood exactly what I was going through. After my husband passed, she spent two weeks with me at my home. She was like an angel, there for me in my time of need.

During this time, I foolishly told her about the large insurance policy that my husband left to me. We have become even closer and spend time together going out to eat and shop on a weekly basis. In order to thank her, last fall, I invited her on a four-day trip to San Francisco, paying for her airline tickets and lodging. She went even though it meant leaving her second husband and family alone.

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I have recently decided to rent a beachfront house in Texas for four months this winter. When I told her that I would love for her to visit, she immediately became very excited and said yes. It has now become very apparent that she is planning on spending the entire four months with me at my expense.

I have invited other girlfriends at different intervals to visit for three to five days and look forward to hosting them and having a fun getaway. I just found out that she has been inviting her children and grandchildren to visit her, too, but not her husband. I am feeling very taken advantage of and becoming resentful of her assuming the depth of my generosity. I am concerned about this destroying our friendship if I try to discuss it with her or by just giving in. Either way, I lose. What should I do, Annie?

— The Lost Friend

Dear Lost Friend: Firstly, I am so sorry for the loss of your husband. I can only imagine how difficult that must have been after a decades-long marriage. I am glad you had the love and support of your children and the friend you mentioned to move through your grief.

Your best friend went above and beyond after your husband’s passing, and I imagine she knows just how much you appreciated it since she experienced a spouse’s loss herself. But friendship isn’t a scorecard. Her overwhelming kindness two years ago does not entitle her to be a part of everything you have and do now.

Since your husband’s death, you’ve done plenty to thank her for her support. Now it’s time to draw a line in the sand. Your BFF may not fully realize she’s taking advantage of you, so it’ll be your responsibility to communicate to her what is and isn’t OK and to stick to it. You have to honor yourself.

Let her know when it works for you for her to visit the Texas beach house this winter. Emphasize that this hiatus is meant for more than just the two of you but also for you and your children, you and your other girlfriends and most importantly, you and yourself.

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