Smart friend really wants a tiny home – Baltimore Sun

Dear Amy,

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Dear Amy: My friend is 15 years older than me. She has her Ph.D. and teaches at a university.
She lives beyond her means and is now working two jobs to help pay her credit card bills. She has been married and divorced twice.
She is fun to be around; we laugh for hours.
She recently asked us if my husband would build a tiny house on our property for her to move into. She expects my husband to build it for her (she would pay for the materials).
My husband and I said no. We don’t wish to do this, for many reasons.
I explained the many reasons we are saying no. Her comment was, “You can always come up with excuses.”
I didn’t let it bother me and went on to change the subject. We started talking about a local environmental issue.
She blew up at me, saying that I was too stupid to make any comments about the environment because this is her academic specialty. She demands an apology from me for even discussing the topic.
I’m not stupid. It bothers me deeply that she would put me down because I don’t hold a doctorate in environmental science and therefore should never discuss the topic. There has never been a forbidden topic before.
My husband says to let her go her own way, that she was probably upset we said no to her house idea, and she was just taking out her frustrations on me.
I worry about her as she has no close family and has been a part of our family for years. Our daughters call her “Auntie.”
I’m torn on how to handle this. I miss my friend, but now I feel I’m being played.
I would appreciate an outside perspective.
– Not Dumb

Dear Not Dumb: Congratulations! You’ve dodged a tiny house falling onto your property, landing squarely onto your heads like the swirling house in “The Wizard of Oz.”
I think your husband is entirely correct; your friend is desperate and has assumed that she can pressure and manipulate you into providing a roof over her head (building it from scratch, no less!).
The only thing I think you might have done differently was how you delivered your “no.”
“No – that’s not going to work for us,” would have been complete. By providing any explanation, you opened the door for her to wave her degree in your face and sever the friendship – on her terms (“I demand an apology!”), instead of on yours.
You have nothing to apologize for.
I suggest sitting quietly while she figures out how to attempt to get back into your good graces.
She could start with an apology. A person doesn’t need a Ph.D. to apologize sincerely, but she might not be smart enough to realize this.

Dear Amy: My cousin and dear friend is not expected to live much longer, after a long battle with cancer.
My cousin and my husband share a birthday – coming up soon.
In years past, we have celebrated together, along with family.
I’m wondering how to mark her upcoming birthday.
I know birthday parties are supposed to be happy events and this wouldn’t be happy, but it feels wrong not to honor her in some way.
I’m wondering what you think we should do?
– Already Grieving

Dear Already: Depending on how your cousin is feeling, I think that you should plan a family celebration, honoring her life and demonstrating your joy in having her in the world. A gathering of loved ones – even in a hospital or hospice room – can be celebratory and “happy,” even if each person sheds a tear or two.
If your cousin is not able to handle an in-person gathering of too many people, you should share cards, letters, family and friend photos, flowers, favorite music and treats.
Your husband (her birthday twin) might offer a unique tribute, focused on their commonalities and remembering other shared celebrations over the years.
You say it feels wrong not to honor her in some way. I think you should honor her in every way that she is able to receive.

Dear Amy: My wife and I are blessed with 12 grandchildren over four families. Our first eight were boys, and every family received a toy kitchen from us at Christmas. We didn’t think of this as a gender-specific toy.
All of our grandchildren love to be involved with cooking and baking, so a kitchen is a perfect gift.
– Keep Cooking!

Dear Cooking: I quite agree.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

©2023 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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