Dear Annie: I am taking a foreign language class at school. The first week, there was a new girl, “Molly.” No one talked to her except me. I made her laugh, and we had fun at lunch. She became my only friend in that class.
Two weeks later, “Scarlett” arrived. At lunch the next day, Molly asked Scarlett to sit with us. They started talking about stuff I didn’t know anything about. Within days, they were cracking jokes and discussing a sleepover at Molly’s. I felt totally left out. I was Molly’s friend first, and then she just tossed me aside to make way for Scarlett.
When Scarlett isn’t there, Molly and I talk just like before. But when Scarlett comes back, I’m invisible. I’m fed up. What should I do? — Forgotten Friend
Dear Friend: We know this hurts, but the truth is, you do not have a monopoly on Molly’s affections simply because you “discovered” her first. It is, however, rude for her to have discussions with Scarlett in your presence when you are excluded from participating, and you should tell her so. You sound like a friendly, welcoming person. Please use your social skills to make connections with others in your classes. Molly should not be the only fish in your swimming pool.
Dear Annie: Each month, we have a family dinner at a different restaurant. I do not have much choice about which one, since I am gluten and lactose intolerant and also a vegetarian.
At our last dinner (a steakhouse), I ordered a $10 salad. My brothers and sisters and their spouses and kids ordered appetizers, meals, drinks and desserts. When the bill came, they wanted to divide it by the number of persons, which meant roughly $100 per person. I objected, since all I ate was a salad. I was accused of being cheap, but I stood my ground and paid separately.
Now some of them are angry, and I have not been invited out since. I am not as financially well off as the others, and $100 would have been a burden for me. Is there anything I can do to be included again? — M.
Dear M.: It sounds as if your siblings are the cheap ones, trying to get you to pay for their drinks and desserts. Talk to one of the siblings who isn’t angry with you and explain your position. While it is extremely unfair of them to take advantage of you this way, you still are a member of the family and would like to be included in these monthly excursions. Ask how to make things more equitable. (We recommend you ask for a separate check, or put drinks and dessert on a separate tab.)
Dear Annie: I am writing in response to “In the Middle,” whose son is caring for his grandmother.
There are federal and state funded programs supporting the Family Caregivers Act. The family caregiver must be credentialed through a home care registry to receive payment. Additionally, when the family caregiver needs a break, a replacement would be provided. Respite should also be considered to relieve the grandson, whether that means a home care agency to send a replacement or putting Grandma in an adult daycare for the day.
In taking care of her, the grandson has gained valuable skills that he could then apply toward a career in home care. Many home care agencies offer free training to become a home health aide.
The sisters should contact their local Office on Aging and have Mom’s situation evaluated. The ombudsman will then inform them of available services to assist them in keeping Mom at home, while eliminating the conflict in the family. And please tell the grandson to check out caring.com. This website offers great information for the family caregiver. — Kathy Roberts, Medical Administrator, Advance HomeHealth Care
Dear Kathy Roberts: Thank you for your informative and useful suggestions. We hope the grandson will follow through.
“Annie’s Mailbox” is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. This column was originally published in 2016. To find out more about Classic Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.