Feeling in the Right

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

Help me out here. I’m in the middle of a fight with a friend. We used
to be much closer-like ten years ago-when we were both newly single.
Mine was voluntary and a relief. Hers was a shock, and I spent a good
year plus listening to her process why her ex was wrong to leave, and
a second listening to the bitter post break-up fights about money and
possessions, and vacation home. Over time we have settled into a
movie and dinner relationship. It used to be three times a month. Now
it’s down to one, in part because she has sought out other friends and
also because her increasingly negative personality has begun to
seriously grate on me. During the past two years I was on a rabbi
search committee. She was persistently critical of the process and of
the recommended choice. Now the new rabbi is due to arrive. I told
her that I preferred not to discuss the new rabbi for a month, so I
could have time to form my own impressions. I also want to simply
revel in the finality, ands be past all the PTSD that happened with a
divided congregation. I told her I wanted the verbal hiatus in an email
that I road-tested on a neutral party. She said, “Hit send.” I got a
scathing reply. This from the woman who has had no trouble telling
other friends “I’m tired of hearing about XY or Z.” Do I let it go or
answer her very mean reply? Ps I’m in a new relationship with
someone whom she called dull and uninteresting. Couldn’t be farther
from the truth (sweet and hot!), but my new honey was very cautious
around her strong negative affect. Could it be jealousy over someone
she doesn’t want? Help please.

Feeling in the Right

Dear Feeling Right:

Fights between friends are always difficult. It’s almost easier when it is
a close friend, with whom one has close communication. With that kind
of friend, it’s easier to disagree casually and more often, and to build
the habit of expressing your opinions into the robust interchange of
frequent contact. Friends with whom you have been closer, and are no
longer, are more delicate to handle. It sounds like you have allowed
emotions to build up, as most likely has your friends. So what seemed
okay to you was just the spark to set her off.

I’d forgo a reply, though if she brings it up when you see her next —
assuming one or the other of you will initiate dinner and a movie —
dismiss the interchange as equivalent to what she’s related to you in
the past about her own behavior. Ask her very clearly, Do we have
interpersonal issues you want to discuss? If she says yes, have a frank
convo. You may end up seeing less of her, but it doesn’t sound like
you will mind. Or you may grow closer. As for your new honey, enjoy
the fun and do not allow anyone to rain on your parade. Sweet and hot
is hard to come by. I hope it lasts!