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Texting friend needs to get the message

Advice Columns and Columnists

Dear Amy: I have a good friend who is very nice, very thoughtful and very dependable. Whenever anyone needs to reach her, my friend is just one text message away. But that is just what seems to be the problem—she is always reachable and her phone is always there, ringing off the hook with text messages.

I recently spent time with her, and we hardly talked for the few hours we were together, because of her constant receiving and sending messages.

She was texting at least three times every five minutes.

I appreciate that whenever anyone needs to text her, she never fails to answer promptly, but it is extremely annoying to witness. I feel as though when I hang out with her that I am really hanging out with her phone.

What is the best way to approach her about this?—Annoyed With Texting

Dear Annoyed: I don't get it. Unless your friend is a paramedic on duty or perhaps a renowned heart surgeon waiting for the delivery of an organ to transplant, why is it necessary for her to be in constant contact with her circle of connections?

I agree with you that it is very annoying to watch someone you're with read and respond to text messages. Furthermore, it is exceedingly rude of the person to do this with abandon when she's with you.

Perhaps you should send your pal a text, telling her in 140 characters or less how this habit affects you. Here goes:

"Dear friend, your constant texting while we're together is driving me nuts. Let's both put our phones down while we're together. I'll start."

(This message measures exactly 140 characters of text.)

After sending your text, turn your phone off and toss it into the middle of the cafe table.

Dare her to do the same.

Dear Amy: My husband has two children and three grandchildren. They all live about an hour away from us. I am not close to them.

His relationship with his kids can best be described as "polite."

One granddaughter, whom we have seen once in the last four years, just graduated from college.

We sent her a card, a book and money.

The youngest granddaughter was just "promoted" from elementary school.

We gave her money.

At the last event where we saw her, she barely acknowledged us, and only spoke because her father made her.

We have not heard from either one of these kids with a thank-you.

The mother of the college grad said she (the granddaughter) was going to contact us.

The father of the 11-year-old said he "thought" she had written us a note.

I would like to write them off. My husband is indifferent.

I'd like to know your thoughts. —Beverly in California

Dear Beverly: You and your husband have no relationship to speak of with these children, and yet you expect them to act in a way that denotes some sort of closeness.

A child will naturally act shy around a virtual stranger, especially when they sense that this stranger is watching in judgment, as you obviously are.

You and your husband live close by. If you wanted these children to value you, you would make some sort of effort to be a part of their lives.

I agree that these children should thank you for their gifts. But it is an extreme shame that your relationship with them is so flimsy that it hinges on this act alone.

Dear Amy: I'm responding to the letter in your column from the "Bothered Bride," who was worried about the performance of the 5-year-old flower girl at her wedding.

Balky 5-year-olds make for wonderful wedding stories, and pictures of them can be used later for blackmail.

The bride should give the child a good idea of what she should do, and if something happens during the ceremony, said bride should grin big, enjoy the show and let her guests know she's ready to roll with life's punches.—Valerie in Maryland

Dear Valerie: Exactly.

askamy@tribune.com

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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