DEAR ANNIE: What do you do with an old and dear friend who now says something negative at every opportunity? “Lorene” and I live in different states, but used to be in touch daily by phone and on Facebook and have spent time together fairly often when she visits her family here.
For years, we were as close as sisters. Then, last year, as Lorene prepared for a reunion with her high school class, she began to change toward me. She hurt my feelings a number of times with subtle snipes and negative comments and, eventually, with a snub that was so insulting, we had a falling out. We didn’t speak for some time, but I missed my friend and reconnected with her on Facebook. She welcomed my friend request, but ever since, the snipes and negative comments have been ongoing.
If I post a photo from a lovely vacation somewhere, Lorene makes a negative comment about the place, the weather, the cost or that I was alone there. If I post about some activity I’m planning, she’s full of warnings and cautions. If I post an old family photo, she turns my happy memory into a feeling of loss, commenting about how sad it is that others in the photo died before me. When I tried to discuss her attitude, she became defensive and seemed to misunderstand me, so I dropped it.
This is someone who used to call me every day to chat. We have many mutual friends, so it’s impossible to avoid her. I miss my friend and don’t understand where she went. Should I unfriend her on Facebook? Should I just “take it” in silence? What would you do? — Mourning a Lost Friendship
DEAR MOURNING: Might Lorene be having health issues that affect her personality? Suggest she talk to her doctor because you’re worried about her. Is she only negative about you? It could be jealousy or some long-forgotten argument. And it is not uncommon for some people, as they age, to develop a habit of complaining. Lorene may have no idea how she comes across.