Waiting for That Elusive Apology

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Social Q’s

A close friend asked me, jokingly, whether my 8-year-old daughter’s challenging behavior comes from her Down syndrome or from being a jerk. (My heart sank.) Later, when she was visiting, she reprimanded my daughter harshly for interrupting her. This didn’t go over well, and my daughter indicated that she didn’t want to share a sofa by kicking her. My friend became hysterical. I took my daughter to her room; my friend left, texting me that we could discuss the situation later. Since then, she has not reached out or replied to me. I miss her. Do I continue waiting for an apology?


Possibly lifesaving tip: Don’t hold your breath waiting for that apology. No offense, but your close friend sounds like a monster — not just blind to the challenges of raising (and being) a special-needs child, but disrespectful to both of you. If I were playing armchair psychologist (and got to sit in Dr. Freud’s quirky chair), I would suspect that she resents your daughter for stealing attention that would otherwise be directed toward her. Anyone else hearing a vocal exercise: mi, mi, mi, mi, mi, mi, mi?

Still, you get no fight from me if you want to reach out to your pal (again) to explain your circumstances: the developmental delays and disabilities your daughter suffers, as well as more productive ways of interacting with the child. Turning the other cheek is always generous. But I worry about your investing too much more of your (probably scarce) time in an adult who fails to empathize so starkly.

As friends, we all fall down on the job occasionally. Just make sure this isn’t your pal’s specialty. Think back: Was this friendship ever mutually supportive? If so, consider approaching her. If not, cut your losses now. She may have made a great wingwoman during a simpler time in your life. But she doesn’t sound like the sensitive friend you need now. Please take care of yourself. In the long run, it’s as important as taking care of your daughter.

‘Socially Awkward’ or Just Plain Rude?

I have been dating an old friend of my brother for a few years. His mother was immediately welcoming, but his father made several remarks about my coming from “bad stock.” I ignored him, but when I raised the issue with my boyfriend, he told me his father is just socially awkward. Last year, we broke up for a while. Since reconciling, we’ve spent time together with my family, but none with his. When he sees his parents, he goes alone. Is it my job to make this better?


Would you get a load of that? “Bad stock,” as if you were a decommissioned heifer from the county fair. Talk to your boyfriend again. Early in relationships, we may be inclined to cover for our parents, as your boyfriend did, to smooth things over. But his father’s comments weren’t “socially awkward.” They were superior and hurtful.

Say: “Honey, if we’re going to keep dating, don’t you think we should handle this weirdness with your father?” Your boyfriend can raise the issue with his mom and dad privately, and the next time you see them — with any luck — they will be warmer, and you may even get an apology from the old goat. (Note: Not all goats will apologize.) But if your beau is unwilling to stand up for you or is unresponsive to your beef, beware. Plenty of romances survive bad relationships among in-laws. But we have to know our mates have our backs.

My Own Dr. McDreamy

I’ve had a crush on my dermatologist for two years. And it’s not going away. When I visit his office, we just seem to connect. We talk about everything. His assistant often has to come in and pull him away. Last time, he complimented me on my “great hair” and “beautiful arms.” We’re both divorced and in our 50s. What should I do?


Sadly for those of us crushing on our doctors, the American Medical Association prohibits them from dating patients. (And that’s a good thing: The unequal power dynamic makes true consent tricky.) But if you terminate your medical relationship with your doctor, all bets are off. (The A.M.A. still frowns on it, but it’s not forbidden.) Call him up, fire him and invite him to dinner. So, what’s it going to be, Scarlet: collagen or Dr. Feelgood?

Traveling Reservations

I am an avid traveler. Friends often say, “I’d love to come along on your next trip!” I would hesitate to travel with many of them: different budgets, different travel styles. But I don’t think saying: “You’re too high maintenance” is a good approach. What should I say?


Go with an enthusiastic “We should talk about it!” You will never hear from 90 percent of them again. They may be momentarily swept away by wanderlust, but they don’t really mean it. The remaining few should fall away once they realize your travel dates and destinations don’t dovetail perfectly with theirs. A true travel buddy requires a level of compromise not frequently encountered these days.