:Dear Abby: My boyfriend of four years, “Joey,” is a kind and loving person. Recently the father of one of his close childhood friends died. We live a plane ride away, and Joey could not get time off work to attend the services.
I assumed Joey called his friend and family to extend his sympathies. During our last visit home, I found out he had not reached out to them. I’m upset that he didn’t, and I know the friend was deeply hurt by it. At this point, what can Joey do to make things right? Why wouldn’t he make the call in the first place?
:Smoothing it Over in San Antonio
:Dear Smoothing it Over: Joey may not have reached out because he didn’t know what to do, which would have been to call and extend his condolences or send a card or handwritten note. He may have procrastinated because he didn’t know what to say and was afraid he’d say the wrong thing.
The way to fix this would be for Joey to pick up the phone, apologize to his friend for not calling sooner, and confess that he knows he was wrong for not doing so. All he needs to say after that is that he’s sorry for his friend’s loss, which he knows must have been painful. Then he should be quiet and listen.
:Dear Abby: My daughter-in-law allows her 2-year-old daughter to run around naked before bath time and at other times. They have been visiting us, and there are also other people in the house and yard. The child’s mom tells her to say, “Look at these buns!” and laughs. We feel this is inappropriate and dangerous. How can we get through to her that it’s not right?