Dear Annie: I’ve been friends with “Charlotte” for years. We used to be “phone friends” but have recently started doing things together (walking, shopping, eating out, etc.). However, every time I ask whether she’s available, she always says, “I’ll have to let you know.” She never says “yes.” Most of the time she is unable to meet me, although she does eventually let me know. It makes me feel like she’ll spend time with me if nothing better comes along.
Charlotte is retired but has a family that takes a lot of her time. I work two jobs, so my time is limited. Two weeks ago, I asked her to come to a lecture with me. I gave her plenty of notice, saying if she was unable to attend, I would do something with my sister instead. Charlotte said she would be out of town that morning and wasn’t sure when she’d return. Later, she left a message saying she was hoping to make it, but wasn’t certain.
When I came home from work, I still hadn’t heard from Charlotte, so when my sister asked whether I was available, I went. I left Charlotte a message, saying I wouldn’t be back in time to go to the lecture. I haven’t heard from her since. I called once, but she didn’t have time to talk. Was I wrong to do something with my sister before Charlotte gave me a definite answer? – Ohio
Dear Ohio: Yes. Granted, Charlotte seems a little reluctant to make social commitments, but that doesn’t mean you should behave the same way. Call her and apologize for running out on her. Then the next time she gives you a wishy-washy response, say, “I’ll take that as a ‘no’ unless you get back to me.” Or stop arranging to meet up with her altogether and you’ll be less frustrated.
Dear Annie: I hope you have room for one more story about stolen food. In high school, my mother had a problem with someone taking lunches from her locker. One day, she packed a lard sandwich. Her lunch was never stolen again. – South Williamsport, Penn.