Dear Annie: The first meeting of my girlfriend and a couple with whom I am friends caused me to want to retreat into a hole.
My male friend is an intelligent, educated man who is extremely successful in business and recognized as such in the community.
My girlfriend's parents live in West Virginia, of which my male friend became aware. On this, their first meeting, he felt it appropriate to tell West Virginia jokes during dinner, focusing on the offensive stereotypes that residents of the state commonly commit incest and have few or no teeth.
I later apologized to my girlfriend on his behalf. She graciously said that she is accustomed to such "humor."
What does one do in a situation such as this to avoid having the evening collapse? — Unamused
Dear Unamused: The joke is on your friend, who fancies himself a cultured man of the world yet showed just how incredibly close-minded he is. Grace doesn't have a ZIP code. True class, intelligence and poise can come from anywhere. Your girlfriend is living proof. It was kind of her to take his remarks in stride.
Your friend should be embarrassed for telling such jokes. They're even more trite than they are insulting. Talk to him about retiring this material.
Dear Annie: I spent some time in the hospital and befriended the woman in the room next to me. We also became friends on Facebook and have kept in touch that way.
I have been having some family problems and decided to move out of my situation, but I couldn't afford to live on my own. A friend from school was also looking to move out of her situation, so we thought that maybe we could share an apartment together. The problem is that when my school friend and I started looking for apartments, my hospital friend suggested we check out an apartment in the building her daughter manages. But the apartment was very disgusting, and we decided not to take it. Well, my hospital friend got very angry and said she didn't want to talk to me anymore. But a few days later, she started chatting with me again.
Now she's back in the hospital, and I have been trying to visit with her, but she's kind of far from my new apartment, and it's been hard. I did visit with her on a Wednesday for three hours. The day after that, I had to go back into the area to pick up a prescription. But I didn't stop in for a visit because I had visited the day before. When she found out that I was in the area and didn't visit, she got angry and asked why. I told her it was because I had just visited the day before. She told me that if it's such a bother to visit, then I should stay away and never visit or talk with her again.
What should I do, apologize and try to visit or do as she said and stay away? — A Questionable Friend
Dear Questionable: You made it out of the hospital, but you picked up a bug while you were there. I'm sure this woman is lonely. But that doesn't make it OK for her to try to control you. You've been plenty kind, but it's still not enough for her. She won't be happy until she's sucked up all your time and energy; sounds more like a parasite than a friend. Detox and rid yourself of this unhealthy "friendship."
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Photo credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture