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Friendship Fades Following Criticism of Husband's Jokes

DEAR ABBY: I have been friends with "Martha" for 40 years. We live a few hundred miles apart, so I like to call her and chat. The problem is, her husband always answers the phone, and he likes to give me a hard time.

When I identify myself and ask to speak to Martha, he says he doesn't know anyone by my name, or says there's no Martha living there. Once he told Martha to ask me how my ex-husband was. (I have not seen my ex for 40 years, since our divorce.)

The last time it happened, I told Martha her husband was annoying and that she should call me from now on. She said he was just trying to be funny. I haven't heard from her since, not even a birthday card. Was I wrong to speak up? Should I apologize or just lose this friendship? -- PROBLEM HUSBAND IN FLORIDA

DEAR PROBLEM: Martha's husband doesn't strike me as being particularly witty. After a few repeat performances of his lame material, I can understand how someone would become annoyed. I don't think you owe Martha an apology for being honest about how you felt. Because you left the ball in her court, it's possible that since you did all the work staying in touch, your 40-year friendship was not as close as you assumed or you would have heard from her.

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