Dear Abby: The last two years have been tough. I went through a breakup after a four-year relationship, my dog had cancer and I had to put her to sleep, and I caught covid and have dealt with long-haul symptoms ever since. My energy is low, plus I’m depressed with all the events that have happened.
I have two best friends I’ve known since I was 16. I’m 34 now. I thought they would be there for me through anything. We were close until recently. They no longer invite me to get-togethers, and they hang out and exclude me. I try to stay in contact, but when I talk with them, it doesn’t progress from small talk. The few times I have seen them, I stayed positive and didn’t discuss my problems.
They have children, and I’m single and childless, which may have caused the divide. Being excluded hurts. When I mention it, they say, “You don’t have kids. I didn’t think you’d want to come.” I need my friends more than ever right now because I feel very alone through one of the toughest times of my life. How do I mend these friendships? — Disappointed Friend In Virginia
Dear Friend: Discuss your feelings with your friends. They may not be trying to isolate you intentionally. You are in very different phases of your lives right now. They may believe that being invited to kid parties would bore you, as would their constant chatter about what their little ones are doing, saying, etc. (More than a few childless adults feel that way.)
If you explain that you need emotional support, they may step forward. Recognize that your friends with kids are a “package deal.” If you bond with their kids, it might bring you all closer. However, if that doesn’t happen, you will have to summon the energy to find new friends whose lives better align with yours.
Dear Abby: I bought my roommate beautiful earrings for her birthday. It has been more than a month, and she still hasn’t worn them, not even when I suggested it. She has frequently worn a second pair of earrings I bought her.
I don’t have pierced ears, but the earrings could be made into a necklace. If she doesn’t want them, it would be nice to get them back since they were expensive and I like them. How can I politely ask if she plans on wearing them, and if not, if I can have them back? Would it be better if I suggest that we can each get one earring made into a matching necklace? — Bejeweled In North Carolina
Dear Bejeweled: Ask your roommate to tell you honestly if she likes the earrings. Tell her that if she doesn’t, you do like them and would be glad to gift her something else of her choosing. Then suggest that she return the earrings so you can make matching necklaces. I don’t think it would be rude, and neither should she.
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 P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069 or visit