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Friend's Generous Wedding Gift Becomes an Unhappy Burden

DEAR ABBY: A good friend of my husband's, "Eric," offered us a very generous wedding present. It was something we needed in our home, and he told us he would like to build it for us. Time went on, the project was delayed and my husband offered him numerous opportunities to back out. Each time the friend continued to support his offer. When it was finally finished, Eric admitted it had pushed him beyond capacity.

It has become obvious that Eric feels resentful, and now he's holding his generosity over my husband's head. He recently asked my husband to help with a project in his own home, and when my husband couldn't do it that week, the conflict came to a head.

My husband has reached out trying to explain that he wants to help his friend, but he needs to plan for it. We haven't heard back from Eric, and my husband is very sad. I'm good friends with Eric's wife, and this conflict has made it uncomfortable for us to see each other.

I want to mediate, but it's difficult to objectively step back and see where my husband has wronged and needs to make amends. I realize that nothing in life is black and white, and I need an unbiased perspective on how we can move forward. -- GOOD FRIENDS

DEAR GOOD FRIENDS: I agree that few things in life are black and white, but after reading your letter, I can't see how Eric was wronged. Your husband didn't refuse to help with the project; he just said he couldn't do it unless it was scheduled in advance.

I don't know why Eric is nursing a grudge and neither do you. Not all friendships last forever. That's why, if you are smart, you will refrain from inserting yourself in the middle of this.

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