Friendship evaporates amidst shoplifting and shortchanging

Published 9:15 am Monday, May 16, 2022

DEAR ABBY: I had a friend I adored. She was someone I had known for over 20 years, but I had to say goodbye to her. I realized she is a shoplifter and also doesn’t tip at restaurants.
When she shoplifted, I was with her. I had no idea she was doing it until we got back to the car and one of the items fell out of her bag. I was appalled. I told her to never do it again when we were together, and I have tried not to shop with her since. I realized she wasn’t leaving tips when her receipt blew away with a gust of wind. She was in the restroom when I picked it up and saw there was no tip for the server, who was working very hard.
I told her I didn’t feel comfortable going places with her under these circumstances, especially with how things have changed during COVID. The last straw was when I caught her trying to sneak into a musical event. There are musicians in my family, and I know how they and others have struggled during these hard times.
She has more than enough money to cover these costs. I don’t understand why she does it. The problem is I feel guilty. Should I reach out and suggest we do things that don’t involve music, restaurants or shopping? Maybe we can just go for walks and talk? I miss her friendship. — TAKEN ABACK IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR TAKEN ABACK: I don’t advise it. The woman you “miss” — I hesitate to refer to her as your “friend” — is selfish, stingy, dishonest, self-centered and lacks compassion for others. You need her in your life like a moose needs a hat rack. Find walking companions who are caring, generous and honest with whom to “get your steps in.”
DEAR ABBY: My younger brother is in his 60s. As a child, he was very active and athletic. Decades later, he is seriously overweight and having trouble with his knees, plus numerous other physical problems. He’s addicted to painkillers and takes many other drugs. Over the last 10 years, he has had disagreements with at least 10 people and written mean and spiteful texts. Because of it, he has lost many friends and even his doctor.
He didn’t communicate with me unless he wanted my opinion about something he had done or said. If I disagreed, he sent me hateful, upsetting texts as well. Last year, he asked my opinion about something, and when I disagreed with him, he blasted me again. He also doesn’t like my husband or stepdaughter and mentioned them in his text. I finally decided I had had enough and quit engaging him. Am I overreacting? — SECOND THOUGHTS IN GEORGIA

DEAR SECOND THOUGHTS: I don’t think so. Because you want to avoid the pain of interacting with your dysfunctional sibling, your solution is both logical and appropriate. Please do not second-guess or punish yourself for protecting yourself.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
Good advice for everyone — teens to seniors — is in “The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It.” To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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