Dear Abby: I am having issues with a friend who gets handed most everything he wants. I had to grow up when I was very young, pay my own way for things and take care of myself. I work three jobs to pay my rent in a house with four other people while still pursuing my passion.
This friend is unemployed. He lives in an apartment his parents pay for and goes on frequent road trips. I have reached a point where I have become seriously envious, and I’m not sure how to stop feeling frustrated that he has an easier life than I do.
I care about our friendship, but it’s physically painful sometimes when he talks about these luxuries that I can’t afford. Should I cut off the relationship? Is this something I should talk about with him or something I need to work on myself? — Envious in New York
Dear Envious: Why not do both? Tell him how his going on and on about his “luxuries” makes you feel. If that doesn’t increase his sensitivity to the disparity in your situations, you have my permission to end the relationship.
HOWEVER, while you are working on yourself, please understand that your friend’s parents are doing him no favors. “Children” raised without an incentive to succeed are not often successful in life. They don’t have the tools you have. You are independent. He isn’t. Rather than work to build success in a profession, he’s taking road trips. You know the value of hard work, and with each of the jobs you work, you are gaining experience and focus.
From my perspective, if I had to say which of you is richer, it is you. Step back and you will recognize you have nothing to be jealous about, and you’ll be able to change your thinking.
Dear Abby: I have a friend I’ll call Layla. Her best friend, “Matt,” raped her. She doesn’t want to tell anyone, but I think she needs to. She told me Matt has done it multiple times. I love her, and I don’t want it to keep happening because she’s an amazing person.
Her life isn’t going well, either. Her mom has stage 4 colon cancer and is in her final year. Her stepdad isn’t the best person, and Layla has a disease herself. I’m really worried about her. What should I do? — Standing By in Oregon
Dear Standing By: You SHOULD be worried. Encourage Layla to contact the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (rainn.org or 800-656-4673) and tell someone there what has been happening. Offer to be with her for emotional support when she does it. Her “best friend” (!) Matt is a predator, and for the sake of her own mental health she must no longer allow herself to be victimized.
Layla will need your friendship and support while her mother spends this final year battling her disease. It’s a shame that her stepfather isn’t supportive, but he may be grieving in his own way and unable to.
With the amount of stress that your friend is under, it is not surprising that she’s ill. Stress can weaken the immune system. If she’s being treated by a doctor for her illness, her doctor should be made aware of everything that’s going on. She may be more inclined to reveal it if you accompany her to an appointment.