Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
I have a friend with whom I run hot and cold. I suspect she feels the
same about me. For years we were close, but the friendship eroded
over a variety of factors, from disapproval about who was dating
whom and how that impacted the friendship, to matters of synagogue
politics, and because of misunderstandings of a small nature that felt
bigger because we cared less about one another. Nothing fatal but we
drifted apart, except for monthly movie/meal evenings and
conversation between plays watching football. Her house is being
remodeled and she has taken to sending me texts saying, I’d like to
come watch the game, the Emmys, etc etc, without asking if this is
good for me or even suggesting that she will bring anything for the
meal that occurs during those times. I know she is not trying to be
rude, but I feel very taken for granted. In the spirit of the season,
what should I say?
In the spirit of the season you should be honest and also welcoming.
In the Tree of Life there is a very intentional balance between chesed
(loving-kindness) and gevurah (boundaries/discernment). It is fine to
apply both to get to a balance. Tell her you’re glad to be a hostess to
her during her dislocation when it works with your schedule. Ask her to
give you as much notice as possible so you can try to accommodate
what she needs, and say you will alert her asap if her timing doesn’t
work for you.
When you have opened your home to her, and are sharing a meal (to
which you may or may not choose to ask her to bring something she
could pick up easily along the way), tell her that you are happy that
you two are closer again, and past the difficulties of the past. Tell he
you enjoy her company when you connect, and, in the spirit of the
season, want to be sure that any past elements of disagreement have
been resolved. That conversation will either bring you closer or less so,
either of which will shift where you place your welcome mat.