DEAR ABBY: I return to my hometown at least twice a year to visit my large extended family. When I do, I have tried to make time for my oldest friend, "Judith," whom I have known since kindergarten. In the past we have gotten together for a few hours here and there -- for dinner, coffee or whatever. She's great company, and we have fun together.
I'd like to spend more time with Judith, but Mom and Dad are close to 90 and there are many other relatives on my and my husband's side to see, which takes up most of our time.
Years ago, we tried to see all our friends, but more recently we have limited it to Judith and her husband and occasionally include a mutual friend.
Judith just e-mailed me telling me to "have a nice life" because if we were "truly" friends, I'd make more time with her. She won't reply to my e-mails or return my calls.
I respect her feelings, but feel pressured by the time constraints of our brief visits home. Judith has no children, a single brother and a married brother with whom she recently reunited.
I feel like I have committed some kind of crime. I think if she was a true friend, she'd understand my predicament. Please help. -- DEEPLY HURT IN ARIZONA
DEAR HURT: Your pal Judith doesn't appear to have matured much since kindergarten. Her behavior is petulant, immature and self-centered. Although you care for her, you cannot shirk your family obligations in order to placate her. If Judith can't appreciate that you have placed your family first, it's regrettable, but please don't permit her to punish you for it. You're doing the right thing and, although you may be hurt right now, let that be your consolation.