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by Abigail Van Buren

Neighbors' One-Sided Friendship Leaves Woman Feeling Slighted

DEAR ABBY: I have a friend of 20-plus years I'll call "Gladys." We enjoy walking our dogs and talking about relationship issues. Sometimes it's just me counseling her. She often regales me about these wonderful times she has -- get-togethers with her other friends that I'm not invited to. She loves going into detail about how wonderful her excursions are, etc. I have always made excuses to myself about it -- I'm more boring and straight-laced than her other friends, not as rich, not as smart. (It's true. I don't party much. I'm a total lightweight.)

Also, I'm one of her only friends who hasn't met her boyfriend of more than a year, and believe me, she has confided in me about their relationship the whole time. I have been concocting in my mind a way to address this with her without driving a wedge. (She can be very sensitive and defensive.) My boyfriend doesn't like how she treats me, but she's never been anything but kind and sweet with me, generally. She just doesn't include me in her social circle. What is your take on this? -- STRANGE FRIENDSHIP IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR STRANGE FRIENDSHIP: My "take" is that over the last 20 years you have fulfilled one particular function in Gladys' life, being her therapist and dog-walking chum. Period.

Your boyfriend has a point. She appears to be centered on herself and insensitive about how her confidences have made you feel. In my opinion, what she has been doing isn't kind and sweet; it is clueless. Ask Gladys (and her boyfriend) to go out for a social activity. It's worth a try. If you really want to know why you have never been included in her social circle, I don't think it would be rude to ask why -- IF you are prepared for the answer. It's a fair question.

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