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Ask Amy: Friend wonders why pal is so poor

Staff Writer
The Ledger
The Ledger

DEAR AMY: I am a retired professional. My husband is still working. We have no investments and no inheritances, but we get by.

I rarely mention money. I love to go to restaurants, shows and concerts, tip well, and am generous with what I have.

I have a friend who is quite the opposite. She does not dine out or go to shows or concerts, and both she and her husband retired a few years ago with generous pensions and health insurance.

Her parents passed away, leaving her a large (by her description) inheritance. For a while, she talked about all the things she was looking forward to spending it on.

She has never done any of those things, and her house is falling apart around her. She constantly complains about not having “funds.” Her main topic of conversation is coupons. Today we were in a neighbor’s beautiful backyard, and she said she wished she had money for plants. Amy, this is ridiculous. I know her well, and she has no expenses and doesn’t spend a dime. She frequently brags that she and her husband did not help their sons with college expenses.

Can you explain why people act this way? I know she isn’t the only one. I never respond to her remarks about clipping coupons and not having funds — I just change the subject.

I don’t know what to say to her, and I am reaching the point where I can’t stand it anymore.

Any advice? — STRAINED FRIENDSHIP

DEAR STRAINED: It sounds as if your knowledge of your friend’s financial situation has come, mainly, from her self-reporting. Because of this, it seems natural that, rather than change the subject each time she brings it up, you could ask your friend — one time — “I thought that you and your husband were doing well financially. What happened?”

Your friend and/or her husband could actually be out of funds because they fell for a scam, invested badly, gave money to their kids, engaged in online gambling, donated their money to an institution — or for any number of other reasons. Your friend’s husband might be controlling her by denying her access to their money. Or — she and/or her husband might have a hoarding disorder, which causes them to actually hoard their money, “saving” it to their own detriment.

You’ve heard of people hoarding possessions, paper, animals, vehicles, etc., to the point where it poses a risk to their own health and safety. The same disorder leads some people to hoard money. If you know these people very well and their living situation is deteriorating to a dangerous extent, you could consider sharing your concern with their children.

Your friend seems unable to enjoy life. Rather than judge her harshly, you might respond with patience and compassion.

DEAR AMY: I consider myself a liberal thinker and have several friends and close family members who identify LGBQ. But I just don’t get the bisexual label if one is not sexually active (nor looking to be). Over the past several years, at least three acquaintances have “come out” on social media as bisexual. All three are in long term (10-plus years) marriages to people of the opposite sex.

While one can never know what goes on “behind closed doors,” it is doubtful that any of these marriages are “open.”

One of the professed bisexuals is an ordained minister another is married to an ordained minister. So the idea of these individuals having free-wheeling sex lives with multiple partners seems remote.

What does it mean for someone to be bisexual and not express that in a physical way? How is it important to announce that truth about themselves if they are not looking for a relationship? What about being bisexual are they “claiming,” if it isn’t about sex? — BI-CURIOUS?

DEAR BI-CURIOUS: Some people might be inspired to proclaim their own bisexuality out of solidarity to people who are less safe and secure than they are.

This would be a powerful statement from some in the clergy community, if they belong to a faith practice that openly discriminates against LGBTQ people.

But — because you are curious about a public proclamation, you should feel free to ask.

DEAR AMY: Thank you for your advice to “Cold Feet,” the woman whose future in-laws were causing so much trouble.

My own advice would have been one word: RUN! — BEEN THERE

DEAR BEEN THERE: Entering this family system will present some definite challenges for both “Cold Feet” and her fiancé.

You can email Amy Dickinson at askamy@amydickinson.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.