Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I have a friend whom another friend once described as “the angriest
person I’ve ever met.” Though she has a sharp temper and is often
negative, I have learned to let things roll off my back, in part because
she is a lawyer, and even more an aggressive litigator, who doesn’t
know how to stop a discussion before she has gotten her way. I am
more conflict averse.  When we were planning the food for a recent
football game, I offered cheese and crackers, and her response was, I
have plenty of that. So I retreated to chips and dip, adding a PS, “We
have different taste in cheese.” I got back a blistering email telling me
I was rude and needed to think before I spoke. This from the woman
who greeted my news that I was getting a newspaper article about an
art show I was in with, “[other artist] is a terrible artist” and not a
word of congratulations. I said nothing, but have am already seeing
less of her that I did a few years ago. I don’t know if it’s worth trying
to talk this out or let it slide. But I don’t have it in me for a courtroom-
style brawl.

Dear Hurt:

Friendships, like any other meaningful relationship, require caretaking.
Too often people tend to work on their romantic and marital dyads but
assume that their friendships have such a solid foundation that they
don’t need to be refreshed, revisited, and re-examined. It’s natural to
fall into habits with friends: so-and- so always drives, so-and- so makes
the reservations, we eat at restaurants or go to movies selected by ….
These may sound like trivial examples but if you look at your life you
will see patterns that could use a shake up.
I understand wanting to avoid a confrontation with an angry lawyer.
But when the dust settles, say something like, We seem to have
different ideas on what’s rude and what isn’t. We can talk about it or
we can let it slide. I’d prefer an honest conversation, but only one
where we are trying to get closer, not attack or try to be right. I
apologize if I have hurt you. You have certainly made me feel badly.
Sins of omission and commission are in both of our pasts. How do you
want to move forward? My guess is that you’ll tip-toe around the past,
and one another, for a while. Then you will either grow closer or
farther apart. I hope you can decide which you want.