My friend offered to dog sit, but backed out when her mother died. Now what?

I visited my family abroad for three weeks. It was our first Christmas together in 10 years. A close friend offered to take my dog ​​while I was away. During the first week, my friend’s mother died. I offered to make other arrangements for my dog, but she said it wasn’t necessary. By the second week, she was struggling. She asked me if she could return the dog to my house and visit him twice a day. I asked someone else to help so my dog ​​could get more visitors and my friend could deal with losing her. Then my neighbors complained that my dog ​​was barking all night. I asked my close friend to spend a night at my house. She refused and insinuated that I was to blame for the situation. Her inability to commit has caused a rift with my neighbors. How can I solve the problem with the neighbors? (I’m okay with moving on with my friend and not accepting offers of help from her again.)


I understand the inconvenience of having to make new dog-sitting arrangements and receiving complaints from neighbors while you are abroad. But I’m surprised by your lack of perspective and your passive-aggressive attacks on your close friend: her mother’s death is an order of magnitude different than your everyday complaints, including her silly insinuation that you were to blame for the barking. . (Grief can prompt us to say and do strange things.)

Now, I don’t belittle your feelings. Sometimes it takes a stranger to help us see that our interpretation of events is too narrow. Let me be that outsider here: your friend probably believed she could take responsibility (and she wanted to do it for your sake) until the pain overwhelmed her and she couldn’t. If she were just a flake, you wouldn’t have left your dog in her care, would you?

It doesn’t seem to me that anyone has done anything wrong here. It was a symphony of bad timing. Try to be compassionate with your friend. She is in mourning. And she apologizes to your neighbors with a brief explanation of the circumstances. I’m sorry for the stress on you and them, but I’m even more sorry for the loss of your friend over the holidays.

My daughter recently had a baby. She doesn’t know many people where she lives, so I started an online baby shower for her on a private, family-friendly Facebook page with over 100 members. Only two people sent gifts! I can’t express how disappointed I am. All I wanted was warm clothes and simple things for a newborn, which I said in my post. I have attended special occasions for many group members that required travel, gifts, and large expenses. I didn’t do it to get my money back, but how do I handle my feelings?


First, congratulations on the new baby! You don’t say much about your post or how active this Facebook page is (or your own online fluency, for that matter), but many of the members may not have even seen your message. In my experience, friends and family respond more to events (a Zoom baby shower, for example) than to a group post asking for gifts. I understand that you feel hurt, but next time make it an occasion, not a shopping list. Your family members may respond better.

My mom has a tumultuous relationship with her family. She and her siblings suffered childhood trauma, which has led to her brother and sister rarely speaking to her. When they do, they often say spiteful things. I spend a lot of time comforting my mother after these interactions. Since I had also benefited from therapy, I suggested it to her after a recent episode with her sister. She asked, “Why do you think I need a therapist?” Did I overdo it?


I have been helped by therapists in every decade of my life; My mother fixed the first two. Still, I ran into the same problem when I suggested that she I could talk to one. Finally, I discovered that it’s all in the framing: “Mom, it really helped me when I talked to a therapist. Do you think you could get to the bottom of these painful episodes with your siblings if you talked to one too? It worked for me!

My boyfriend’s ex-wife is getting remarried and I would like to send her a congratulations card. We have never met. (My boyfriend and I have been in a long distance relationship for three years.) Their relationship is often contentious, usually due to scheduling conflicts in co-parenting their teenage children. I wish her the best, but I don’t want my card to be an unwanted interruption to a happy time for her. My boyfriend was surprised that he wanted to send him a card, but he didn’t object. Should he send one?


It’s a little strange sending cards to strangers, but your impulse seems sincere to me. So, as long as you didn’t play a role in the breakup between her and your boyfriend, why not? Keep it simple: Wish her well on her happy day and her new marriage and tell her that you look forward to meeting her when the time is right.

For help with your awkward situation, send a question to [email protected], Philip Galanes on Facebook or @SocialQPhilip on platform

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