DEAR ABBY: Around 12 years ago, I helped out an old friend I’ll call Patty by creating an author website for her. I have maintained it for her ever since. She is grateful and gives me a gift every once in a while to show her appreciation.
Over time, her requests for revisions and updates have increased to the point that I dread receiving them. I’m very busy with a business I own, and I really don’t want to do this for her anymore.
The problem is, I created the website using an obscure program she has no idea how to use (she’s tech-unsavvy to begin with), so if I stop, I would be leaving her high and dry. Oh, and she has no money, so I don’t think hiring someone to take over would be an option. The only thing I could recommend to her is that she start making a new webpage from scratch, using a free site.
I’m dying to let this go, but I think she’ll be crushed, and I hate to hurt her. Any advice? — OVERWORKED FRIEND
DEAR OVERWORKED: Explain to your friend that you have a business to run and you will no longer be able to give her the free services you have been. Then, if you want to keep the friendship, rebuild her a website on a platform that will be easier for her — or someone else — to manage in the future.
DEAR ABBY: My brother-in-law has always been a bully and a chronic liar. It has torn our family apart. He’ll tell one family member one thing, and the other another story for the purpose of getting them mad at each other. He is also a narcissist. Innocent people have been victimized by all of this.
Now he is moving on to the elderly neighbors and lying to them about family members. Confronting him will do no good. We have tried. How do we get him to stop the bullying and lying? His wife is no help because she has been brainwashed and can no longer think for herself. Please help. Maybe by publishing this letter it will turn on a lightbulb. — DESPERATE IN NEW ENGLAND
DEAR DESPERATE: Because your brother-in-law is now spreading misinformation among the elderly neighbors, explain to THEM that he has a “personality disorder” and a problem with the truth. Then give them some examples and, with luck, you can nip this in the bud.
DEAR ABBY: I have depression and anxiety problems. My dad sometimes forgets that I have it. I tried to kill myself a couple of times. I asked him if I can have a service dog for my mental health problems. He says I can’t have one. I understand his reasons, but I think it would help me. I really need help. — GOING INSANE IN WASHINGTON
DEAR GOING INSANE: I cannot fathom how the parent of a child who has attempted to commit suicide would “forget” it. I will assume that you are under the care of a mental health professional for your depression and anxiety. If you aren’t, you should be. Your father may be more open to accepting the concept of a therapy dog if he hears it from your therapist.