Annie’s Mailbox for July 6, 2011: ‘Friend’ only sends spam forwards
Dear Annie: I am constantly getting chain-letter e-mails from a friend I met in a class years ago. The e-mails usually contain vague threats about how something bad will happen to me if I don’t forward the letter to five friends, or how good luck will follow if I do. The last straw was when she sent me one that said, “Forward this, and something good will happen. If you are not a believer in God, delete.”
Occasionally, we meet in person, and our visits are always pleasant. I sometimes send chatty letters or e-mails and ask what is happening in her life, but these chain letters are the only type of correspondence I get from her in return. I find them annoying and have neither the time nor the desire to forward them along. I usually delete them.
How do I tell her that I want to continue the friendship, but this type of e-mail is not welcome?
Dear Puzzled: Since this is the only type of e-mail you receive from her, you may as well simply assign her to the spam file. If that seems too callous, you will need to talk to her at your next in-person meeting. Explain nicely that you never forward chain letters, and since she now knows you will break the chain, she should take you off her distribution list.
Dear Annie: I am the youngest of 10 siblings. We grew up poor. I put myself through school and took care of my parents financially and otherwise.
I am now a married woman with an authoritative career. While I was struggling as a teen, not one of my siblings reached out to help, and I learned never to depend on anyone. However, five years ago, my 4-year-old daughter passed away. For the first time in my life, I looked to my family for support. No one came forward. My sisters decided I “needed space” and didn’t even call.
We were lucky enough to have another child and have moved forward. Now I find myself pushed aside by most of my family because they claim I think I’m better than they are. Since I’m educated, responsible and put my children first, they feel uncomfortable around me. Until they pointed it out to me, I never felt I was any different.
I’ve decided never to contact them again. It tears me apart, but I refuse to beg to be part of “their” family. Tell me if I’m right.
— One of Ten
Dear One: Your accomplishments may make your siblings feel inadequate and jealous. Also, being the youngest of 10 means there is a tremendous difference in life experience. Siblings who are already married with children have little in common with those who are still teenagers. Siblings with grown children may not relate to someone with infants. Often these differences can be resolved with time, but not always. This isn’t about right or wrong. It’s about what you can handle.
Dear Annie: I’d like to respond to “Michigan,” who worries her sons won’t stay close when they grow up.
I have two sons, ages 27 and 29. My husband and I were very involved in their numerous activities — volunteering in sports, scouts and school — and we tried our best to keep the lines of communication open. My sons are now both married, and we are fortunate to have wonderful daughters-in-law and adorable grandsons. Our sons are successful in their personal lives and still call regularly and try to see us as often as possible. We have dinners together, go to sporting events or just spend time at each other’s homes.
Please reassure “Michigan” that she is doing a wonderful job and it will pay off. I’m sure her boys will stay close, and she’ll also get the girls she never had. In return, they will have a very special mother-in-law.
— A Mom Always
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