Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
I’m the in advice-giving business, so I get lots of clients who are in
crisis and expect personal attention. In rare cases I give out my cell
number, which I did a few months ago to a woman in a family crisis.
She never used it but a few weeks later called and told me “I no longer
want to be your friend because you have boundary issues.” She asked
me to completely shred any record of our connection and let me know
when I had done it I did so. Frankly, I was relieved, and: (A) I never
thought she was my friend; (B) I thought she was in trouble and
needed help: and, C) I was happy to see her vanish. Sadly, she’s
baaaaack!!! In the last three weeks she has emailed or called me on
my cell no less than twice a week. I haven’t answered but I’m
concerned that she’s a bit of a wacko. What should I do?
You should write her a very simple email and exactly the same
message in a text: I understand that you’re now looking for help.
However our prior client/advisor relationship is over. Per your request
I’ve shredded your records. I suggest you find someone else to be
there for you during your time of crisis. I am no longer available in
Then take all normal precautions unfriending her on Facebook. Screen
your calls and alert any helper (like a secretary) to say that you’re
busy or otherwise unavailable. Every helping profession attracts a fair
share of needy people. Whether you had boundary issues are not in
the beginning isn’t the question. Now’s a great time to set them, and
perhaps add some spikes to the top of the Keep Out! Wall, at least
where she’s concerned.