Dear Margo: I am wondering what to do about a situation with a friend. We met early on in college and quickly became besties. She was the person I could talk to about anything, and I was that for her. Though we have remained close and have kept in touch since college, our relationship has changed. She got married about three years ago and had her first child six months ago. I am happy for her, but the problem is that while she continues to call me to vent or talk, she never seems to have time for my issues. She is always the one to end the call, and it is rare that she picks up the phone when I call her.
I still consider her a close friend, but it hurts to feel that the relationship is so one-sided. I have some close friends where I live now, but I have no one “best friend,” and I really miss that. I want to have someone I can talk to about anything and everything again. Is there something I could do so I don’t feel like I’m the one putting all of the effort into the relationship? — Frustrated in the Midwest
Dear Frus: For one thing, the two of you no longer share the same life. One of you is married, with a child, and the other is not. It’s hard to imagine, though, that her circumstances have changed what kind of a friend she is, so I’m wondering whether she was a me-me-me kind of girl during college, but you somehow didn’t feel it so keenly. The one-sidedness is definitely not doing anything for you.
I think the only thing to do is recognize that your good pal has morphed into a narcissistic housewife for whom her former best friend has become a wailing wall. I would give up being the one who’s propping up the relationship and put her in your memory file under “College.” — Margo, pragmatically
Dear Margo: My husband and I have happily raised our children and love being empty nesters. We often go out to eat. The problem is that often other diners bring their children, and they’re not all, um, restaurant-trained. It not only annoys us, but it also must annoy other people when children are running around, screaming and whining. Forget about our tolerance for noisy kids, it can’t make the job of the waitstaff any easier. Do you think it would be all right for my husband or me to approach the parents of an unruly child? — Ticked
Dear Tick: Approach them and say what? People are touchy when you criticize their children. And in the situation you are talking about, you’re really criticizing the parents. Just for the record, I am with you about being annoyed by raucous children, but you are talking about public places. And if you’re at Wendy’s, or a similar place, kids are par for the course. A loose rule of thumb is that the more expensive the restaurant the fewer young children you will encounter. If you like places that have family-friendly menus, perhaps try going at a later hour. — Margo, acceptingly
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Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via the online form at www.creators.com/dear-margo.html. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.
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