My friend can solve her problems easily. How do I keep hearing her worry? Ask Ellie


QMy best friend and I met in high school. We grew up with the same socio-economic environment. After college, I traveled to Europe; took courses in the United States.

She met a great guy and their relationship was cemented. I went to see her before I went home. She wanted him to meet his man. I liked it right away; he is friendly, warm and calm.

It is 20 years later; We are both still married and have a few children. He never returned from the United States. We talk and try to see each other often. We are still very close.

The problem is that she is always stressed about something. Most of it is normal life stuff, but not for her. Because? Because her husband comes from a very rich family.

They have several vacation homes, private jets, and literally want for nothing. My husband and I don’t have that lifestyle. We cut short and save for our children. We give up a lot of things because we simply can’t afford it. We do our best and we are fine.

But I have a hard time listening to their stress over problems that can be quickly solved by their means. How do I continue to support her without getting upset?

Friends with benefits

AYour friendship is what matters. Turn the mirror. See the situation from their perspective. She grew up just like you, so when a problem arises, her first response isn’t naturally to throw a credit card at her. Their thought process is to try to understand the problem and how it affects their people. Not only from a financial point of view.

You have financial problems and imagine how easy it would be to solve many of your problems if you had the means. So you are projecting this onto her.

She just wants to be a normal friend, like you’ve been since you were little. She sounds more thoughtful about her bank account if she hasn’t thrown it in your face. Give him a break.

commentsRegarding the mother trying to get her baby to sleep (October 25):

“As a speech and language pathologist, I am forced to offer a very different perspective. Young children are wired to develop language and communication skills. They don’t wake up one day to become fully developed communicators. Having a variety of communication partners is an important part of children’s development, even if it involves making eye contact, or greeting or greeting strangers.

“Each interaction reinforces the development of new skills. The ability to practice newly acquired skills, whether by trying new sounds, new vocabulary, new ways of putting words together, or starting to share thoughts is critical. Equally important is the development of social communication, including eye contact and the use of greetings.

“Instead of bemoaning this child’s need to socialize, it may be helpful for this mother to reframe her discomfort as a time to celebrate and embrace the incredible skills her child is developing. Unfortunately, there are many children for whom language and communication skills are not easy.Listening to music or a podcast while your baby sleeps is a great way to pass the time, but to disengage and miss opportunities to develop communication skills is a shame.

“No wonder so many strangers are looking to relate to this child; I can proudly say that I am one of those people. It takes a village to raise a child.”

Lisa: Thank you for your amazing perspective. I’m also one of those strangers who loves to talk to a baby or toddler in a stroller. But I also understand the plight of a mother of that same sleep-deprived baby or toddler.

My goal was to help her put her baby to sleep. Yes, a happy, awake baby who engages with others will learn and grow in many ways, including speech.

commentsRegarding the person whose rescue dog they don’t like (October 26):

“Try letting someone else clean up and bathe this dog. Many dogs absolutely hate being groomed or even bathed, and will hold a grudge against anyone who subjects them to such indignities. I know this can be expensive compared to DIY, but it can make a big difference. At least it’s worth trying for a while.”

Reader #2: “Maybe also try treats, or new treats, and a new toy. These would be associated only with the letter writer.”

Reader number 3: “My sister was in the same situation. The dog loved her husband but growled at him. One day he was cold and put on his sweater. The dog made him curl up! For a while, she carried something of him as she approached the dog. She no longer needs her scent, as the bridge and the dog adore her.”

Ellie Tesher and Lisi Tesher are advice columnists for The Star and are based in Toronto. Email your relationship questions to: ellie@thestar.ca.

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