Dear Amy: I’ve known “Linda” for about 10 years. Linda has always been a great storyteller. I used to love hearing about her crazy adventures.
A few years ago, she suffered a personal tragedy and I was a primary support through those times. Her attitude, understandably, turned much more negative, as did her stories. However, I’ve realized that she embellishes details to the point of lying.
She told some friends that years ago, she was extremely poor and could barely afford food. We were friends at the time, and I know that’s a lie because we used to eat out often, and she would buy very expensive, organic groceries regularly. I didn’t feel like it was my place to question her finances, but this story, as well as others, have severely damaged my trust in her.
Now every time she tells me anything about her life, it is to seek sympathy, and I don’t know what to believe. I don’t know how to respond anymore. If I question the details, she immediately acts like I’m being unsympathetic.
I know she will get defensive if I tell her how I feel and accuse her of lying.
Is this friendship doomed? — A Friend in Need
Dear Friend: Good storytellers often embellish details. Standup comedians, slam poets, troubadours, evangelists, and grandparents the world over enhance or embellish stories — but these stories should always contain a kernel of truth.
If your friend tells a story that involves you or matters to you — and simply isn’t at all true — then you should call it out: “Whoa, wait a minute. I don’t remember it that way at all.” (You can easily do this without accusing someone of outright lying.)
I suspect the real issue here isn’t actually about the annoyance of embellishment.
This is about a friendship which used to feed you, and now depletes you.
Even if “Linda” is unable to give much emotionally, or be entertaining in the way she used to be, you might feel better about the friendship if she expressed fondness, gratitude, or appreciation for the important role you play in her life.
Yes, tell her the truth: “I feel pretty tapped out. You don’t seem to really value my company. I don’t know how to react to you anymore, because our friendship feels stuck in place.”
Linda would benefit from professional counseling. A good therapist would weed out the truth from the “truth.”
Dear Amy: I am a creative woman, engaging in many ventures, like taking pictures, compiling, and creating musical videos — for events, reunions, and special occasions.
I am a creative cook and yes, have been told I’m very good at it.
I design, plan, and then guide in the work for our home to be attractive.
Here’s the pickle: For some reason, my husband is always given a lot of credit for these projects, which he does not share in. For instance, I prepared a full video project, complete with photos and music, for a recent high school reunion. It really was great, and it was much appreciated by the group. They then congratulated him on his efforts!
How can I tactfully inform others that it was my doing, and not his...? — I Did That!
Dear IDT: This is more a relationship issue than a social one. Is your husband comfortable taking the credit for things you have done?
It is his job to quickly and graciously defer all praise to the person who did the work. You should tell him (privately), “You know, honey, when people heap praise on you for something I’ve done, I’d really appreciate it if you would correct them.”
If he responded to public praise with a quick and public correction: “Oh, no! My wife is the creator; all the credit belongs to her...” you would BOTH get credit — you for your efforts, and him for being an endearing and supportive partner.
Dear Amy: I’m responding to the high school girl who wanted to play on the school’s volleyball team, but didn’t want to shave her legs or armpits.
As far as I know, 100 percent of the women in the WNBA shave, as do all of the women on the U.S. Olympic beach volleyball team. It’s not merely aesthetic, it’s more hygienic.
If it’s good enough for them, it should be good enough for her. I hope the team stands its ground. — Joseph
Dear Joseph: Many professional athletes (male and female) shave all of their body hair. I assume this is their choice, however.