DEAR ABBY: I'm a widow. I have a friend I'll call "Greta," whom I have known since high school. I was very shy back then. She was more outgoing, but our group of friends was small. Over the years, I have become more outgoing, while Greta seems to be withdrawing socially.
She often tells me she will go to an event only if I go with her, but when I commit to it and pay for my part, she usually backs out. The problem is, Greta picks events I would otherwise not choose to attend or that none of my other friends are attending, so I must go alone or lose the money.
I'm about to retire, so I'll have less income. I am also working on widening my circle of friends so I can remain active. Greta wants to be invited and gets upset if I don't ask her to join me. However, she sees no problem with her constant no-shows.
This is putting a strain on our relationship and on my newly formed friendships. I feel guilty for moving on socially, but I'm afraid I'll end up isolated if I try to meet her demands. What can I do to meet my own needs and still maintain her friendship? -- NAVIGATING FRIENDSHIP
DEAR NAVIGATING: You may not be able to do both. Have you pointed out to Greta that what she has been doing is unfair, not to mention expensive? If you haven't, do it now. If you have told her and have been ignored, remind her. When you do, express plainly that what she has been doing is rude, and if it happens again, you will no longer buy tickets for her events. Then step back and see her less often, and only one-on-one if you see her at all.