Dear Abby

Family Tie Is Abruptly Cut for No Apparent Reason

DEAR ABBY: I am writing about the letter you printed from "Haven't a Clue in New York" (Sept. 10), whose friend "Pam" stopped speaking to her with no explanation. A member of my family, "Trish," did that to my husband and me three years ago. We tried to find out what we had done, but Trish's husband -- my husband's brother -- kept making excuses and insisting everything was fine.

Trish had told me previously that she had cut people out of her life, so I guess this is just something that she does. Regardless, it hurts.

She and her husband were very kind and helpful to us when we moved to this area. I valued her friendship and had great respect for her. Even now I feel more pain and sadness for the loss of Trish in our lives than anger toward her.

"Haven't a Clue" must try not to take it personally. What happened is probably more about Pam than it is about her. -- DUMPED IN DIXIE

DEAR DUMPED: I agree and thank you for your comments. I received many thoughtful replies from readers who, like you, have "been there." Read on:

DEAR ABBY: If "Haven't a Clue" just lets things lie, further damage might be done to their friendship that could be avoided. She should send her friend a letter explaining that she has no idea what might have happened to cause the rift, that the relationship is important to her and she hopes Pam will tell her what happened so she'll have the opportunity to resolve the issue.

Letting things stay as they are and not contacting Pam could cause her to stew angrily on the issue until the friendship is damaged beyond repair. Better to reach out to her friend now to see if the situation can be improved, than to hope the storm blows over on its own. -- REBECCA IN NORTH CAROLINA

DEAR ABBY: In her letter, "Haven't" said her neighbors suspected an infidelity issue was at the heart of the rift. In my case, my friend's husband had made a pass at me -- which I rejected. Shortly after, she stopped speaking to me. When mutual friends intervened, she would change the subject.

I continued to send birthday and holiday cards (with no response) and moved several states away. After a few years, I called. When I asked what the problem was and what could we do to resolve it, I was told, "I can't deal with your drama!" and she hung up.

Abby, I had seen her through two marriages, a divorce, her father's death and many other stressful life experiences. I finally realized, as you have advised many times in your column, I'm better off without her. -- MOVED ON IN NASHVILLE

DEAR ABBY: Years ago, my roommate and I were close and shared everything. When I returned for a visit after graduation, she refused to see me. I was crushed. I agonized for months over anything I might have said to offend her, and wrote her repeatedly. I received no response.

Years later, I tracked her down, told her how much her friendship had meant to me, and apologized again for whatever I had done that drove her away. She told me she had discovered she's bipolar. She had struggled with it and hoped that by cutting off all contacts and starting over, she'd gain some kind of balance and control in her life. She said I had never done anything wrong and that she cherished our years of friendship.

I still think of her and wish she had allowed me to help. However, I have to be satisfied that it wasn't my fault, wish her well, and smile when remembering our good times. -- KNOWS ALL TOO WELL

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