A long-time friend – who lives alone and out of state – has told me she is at high risk for dementia (her mother had Alzheimer’s and she’s tested positive in some DNA screen). I’m starting to see signs of her failing. Should I discuss it with her? Her daughters?
I’m so sorry to hear about your friend’s decline. Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease and can be very hard to cope with.
If your friend didn’t ask you specifically to say something to her when you see her memory fail, I’m not sure I would discuss it with her. Some people are information vacuums and want to know everything that is happening to them all the time (me!) and others prefer not to know a thing (why?!?!? Hello, early detection!). Still others want to know just what they need to know to make informed decisions and no more. If you are very close with her daughters, you can talk to them about what they are seeing and ask how you may be able to help. Then, if they ask, you should answer honestly. Knowing she’s failing may help her seek help, retrofit her living space or plan for her future. But it could also add to any sadness or depression she may be feeling.
So, hard though it may be, my advice is to hold your tongue but extend your hand.
I’m in my late 20s and the wedding invites are starting to pour in. I am thrilled for all my friends and look forward to celebrating these joyous occasions, even though I myself come from a long line of divorces and am admittedly a little jaded. But that’s neither here nor there.
My problem is that a very close friend of mine is marrying someone who I honestly can’t stand. It’s not like he is abusive or anything, but he is a very self-centered guy and his needs seem to rule the roost. Everything they do centers on what he wants. He expects that he can sleep as late as he wants, regardless of what she has planned, exercise when he wants, despite their obligations, he is always late, cheap, judgemental and doesn’t lift a finger come meal time. He doesn’t have many friends of his own and she has tons.
I would never in a million years have predicted she would go for a guy like him. Do I say something and risk the friendship or shut it?
Biting my tongue off
Remember the weddings in movies that contain the phrase, “Speak now or forever hold your peace?” Well, forget the “speak now” part and embrace the “forever hold your peace.” No good ever came from objecting to a friend’s life choice. Even if they break up later and you say you never liked him, and she says “Why didn’t you tell me!?” She doesn’t really mean it. As long as she is stuck with him, sadly, so are you.
When it comes to romance, I have seen the most staunch feminists take their husband’s name, stop working and hand over all control. I have seen strong women marry weak men. I have seen men who value intellect marry trophy women who seem to offer none. The list goes on and on.
Do the best you can to find something likable about this shmo, or try and spend more time with her and less time with them. If she asks, you can keep it relational, as in, “it seems like you’re a little more stressed/less yourself around him,” as opposed to “he is such a selfish pig!” My guess is that she already knows that her friends aren’t thrilled with him but there is something (inexplicable) she loves about the guy. Sometimes we all have to suspend judgement to go along and get along. As long as he’s vaccinated and did not vote for Trump of course. Otherwise you have my permission to go to town. What I would give to give Aaron Rodgers a piece of my mind! Just had to get that in.
I have a good friend to whom I am very close. But one thing drives me insane: she is a soft-talker. She talks so softly that often, it is very hard to hear her. In fact, the older I get, the harder it is. I find myself saying, “what?” all the time, but she still does not get the hint.
In thinking about it, I wonder if it’s a control thing. People have to lean in and pay extra attention to her, not necessarily because of what she’s saying, but because they can’t hear her! Drives me nuts. Any suggestions?
Pump it up!
Suggestions? Gabby? Of course!
I agree that this is not only annoying but often goes along with controlling personalities. In my experience, however, it’s less about controlling others as it is about keeping control of themselves. The people I know who do this are pretty tightly wound and pretty hard on themselves in terms of not having a hair out of place, etc. Annoying as hell.
But also, I wouldn’t wanna live in their head for five minutes. I could never have that much control over myself and be so well put together, well mannered and well-comported. I don’t even know if that’s a word and yet I use it so, case in point.
Now that we have analyzed your friend’s raison d’etre, let us think about a solution. I believe in this situation you should just speak up. What you say doesn’t have to come with the aforementioned pseudo psychoanalysis about her personality quirks, it can be as simple as: “Maybe it’s my aging ears, Judy, but I can’t hear you when you talk. I would love it if you could talk a little bit louder.” And if that doesn’t do it, just keep saying, “I still can’t hear you!” I think if you do that enough, she will just have to belt it out.
On the other hand, if you really find her too controlling, you may decide to say nothing and happily miss 75% of what she has to say.
Dear Gabby appears in the RoundTable every Monday. Yes, Gabby is an advice columnist – but not just any advice columnist. Because that would be boring! Gabby combines wisdom with wit. And a pinch of snark. She is not a trained therapist by any means, but has seen and loved many in her day. Her aim is to make you think while she makes you laugh. Gabby welcomes all questions and queries and is only too happy to hear your opinion, no matter how much it may diverge from hers. Write to Gabby at firstname.lastname@example.org.