carolyn hax

Carolyn Hax: How to reach out to estranged friend over tragedy

 

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn: I had a good friend in college, “Lucy”; we were inseparable, in each other’s weddings, etc. Over the past two years we’ve had somewhat of a falling out.,

I just found out Lucy’s mother killed Lucy’s father and then tried to kill herself, and is now facing murder charges.

I haven’t spoken to her in months, and the last time we spoke it was cold and unfriendly. Is there even a way to reach out?

How to Help?

Wow. Of course, yes, there’s a way to reach out — with genuine grief and concern for her. You just need to do it without the strings of expectation attached. By that I mean expecting her to be grateful to hear from you, expecting to be helpful, or expecting trauma to supersede or erase whatever reasons you had to distance yourself.

Just make your overture and follow Lucy’s lead.

Dear Carolyn: I am a sucker for a stray or abused cat, and as a result, my husband and I have taken in nine cats. It’s not that I ever meant to adopt nine cats, but rather some of my cats have medical or behavioral needs that make them unlikely to ever be adopted (we are able to care for their veterinary needs).

I work very hard to maintain my home and keep it clean and cat-odor-free. Even family members with cat allergies do not seem to have issues visiting our house.

My question is, how to react to people who, when they ask how many cats I have, react as if I am a pathological hoarder with a filthy house? I could simply lie about the number of cats, but it makes me feel as if I have something to hide, which I don’t.

Crazy Cat Lady

Let them think what they like; it’s their loss, since you sound like a pretty cool person. Lucky cats.

Email Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com or follow her on Facebook at facebook.com/carolyn.hax.

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