Dear Annie: My husband and I moved to Florida 30 years ago and raised our children here. Some friends recently retired and moved to our area. Florida is a large state, and we were surprised that both of these couples (who don’t know each other) chose to purchase homes within a 20-mile radius of us. My husband and I are being pressured to resume these friendships, but frankly, we are not interested. When these couples email, I keep making excuses, and I don’t answer the phone when they call. It’s been months, and none of them has figured it out. They persist.
One of these women was a childhood friend, but she is boastful and competitive, and her husband is worse. I don’t have it in me to level with them. How can we stop them from calling without creating hurt feelings? – Lynn in Sunny Florida
Dear Sunny: Has it occurred to you that these couples may have moved to this location because they thought they had at least one friend in the area? It means they will persist until they develop new friends who occupy their time. If you are likely to run into them at shops and social events, it might be in your best interests to allow a limited friendship so you are on speaking terms. That means, you answer every fifth call or email and arrange a social engagement every few months. As they become more acclimated to their new digs, you can cut back until you reach the amount of contact you can handle. By then, your absence will be less important to them.