Dear Annie: I am 15 and almost positive that my best friend, “Amanda,” is anorexic. I know for a fact that she was anorexic two years ago, but she told me she had treatment and is cured.
I rarely see Amanda eat lunch at school, and if I ask about it, she says, “I’m not hungry. Just drop it.” It is easy for her to throw food away or say it “looks disgusting” and refuse to touch it. When I tell her she really needs to eat, she gets mad. Lately, she’s had stomach pains that are not cramps. I don’t know if this is related, but she also has been having family, grade, depression and school issues.
I really worry about her, but I know if I bring up therapy, she will stop speaking to me. Her parents want her to go (I’m not sure why) and she’s absolutely livid with them. Please help. — Concerned Best Friend
Dear Best Friend: Amanda is lucky to have you as a friend. She obviously has a lot of problems and her eating disorder could be the way she tries to maintain some control over her life. Right now, it’s best not to talk about food, her weight or her eating habits. Tell her you care about her, value her friendship, think she’s a wonderful person and will always be there for her. You also can suggest, if she feels depressed or is having school problems, that she talk to the school counselor or a favorite teacher, and offer to go with her. You can find more information about anorexia at the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (anad.org), P.O. Box 7, Highland Park, IL 60035 or the National Eating Disorders Association (nationaleatingdisorders.org) at 1-800-931-2237.
Dear Annie: My older son has never shown me any respect. For 30 years, I tried to reach out to him, to no avail. I was so depressed I finally went to my pastor and told him my story. The pastor told me to have nothing more to do with my son because he was making me so unhappy. It’s been two years since my son and I have spoken, and for the first time in my life, I am enjoying myself without stress.
The problem is, my very good male friend can’t understand this. I am 78 years old, and what little time I have left, I want to stay happy. How do I explain why I don’t want my son in my life anymore, and why my younger son wants nothing to do with his brother? — P.
Dear P.: You don’t owe anyone an explanation. When your friend brings up the issue, simply tell him, “I know you don’t understand my decision, but I hope you will respect it nonetheless. I don’t wish to talk about it anymore.” Then change the subject. It isn’t necessary for him to see your point of view.
Dear Annie: May I offer a possible defense for “Not Impressed in Ottawa,” who said her in-laws always arrive late for dinner?
I have a friend who is a great hostess, but she always asks her guests to arrive hours before dinner is served. When we get there, she is still making the hors d’oeuvres. Before dinner, wine is poured so indiscriminately that I never take my eyes off my glass or I will inadvertently end up “toasted” long before the meal is ready.
Few people enjoy a leisurely evening of good food and conversation more than I, but waiting two hours between the hors d’oeuvres and the entree is an unreasonable demand on guests. Now I arrive at least 30 minutes late from the time announced. If “Ottawa” is anything like my friend, perhaps she will understand why her guests are tardy. — Selectively Late in the South
Dear South: We agree guests should not have to wait so long before being given food — and the hosts could be held liable if anything happened to their drunken guests on the way home.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 1.14.08