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Dear Abby: Surprise changes in plans strain women’s friendship

Jeanne Phillips, syndicated columnist

DEAR ABBY: I have a serious issue with my best girlfriend. We make plans together, adult plans, and then at the last minute, her kids drop the young grandkids off for her to babysit, curtailing any plans we have together. The past few times, we have changed our plans to a “kids” activity.

I have an extremely busy client load, and I’m losing income by accommodating my friend’s time constraints, which revolve around making her husband’s lunch and dinner. Although I’m single now (I am a widow), I do understand why she has her priorities. If her grandkids are there when we have plans, she asks me to pick them up fast food on the way over — on my dime.

I have kids and grandkids myself, and they are important to me. I’m tired of being held hostage by her adult children who I feel are using her and taking advantage of the “drop-in day care” with Nana. How can I talk to her about our time being important, too? I have intentionally NOT made plans with my grandkids if she and I have plans, and I would love some reciprocity. — THROWN UNDER THE BUS

DEAR THROWN: If this happened occasionally, I would advise you to cut your friend some slack. However, because this happens often, tell her your dates with her are carefully scheduled, and when she changes them at the last minute, it has a negative impact on you economically. Point out that when you make dates with her, you let your children know they will have to arrange for another babysitter unless it is an emergency. And, if the last-minute changes continue, see her less often and arrange to socialize with other friends who appreciate your situation.

EDITOR’S NOTE: 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.

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