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Blame lack of trust for lost friendship

Question: I recounted to a friend an experience I'd had many years ago. I told him how I'd driven to the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii, in a rental car, despite the fact that the rental agreement forbade me from taking the car there.

He was aghast! He carefully asked: "You mean you put your signature on a document saying you wouldn't take the car to a certain place and you took it there anyway?"I replied in the affirmative. I explained that I'd gone to Hawaii for the express purpose of seeing the sunrise from the highest summit in the Pacific. I had no idea I couldn't use the rental car for that purpose until I was actually in Hilo, filling out the rental car form.

This admission cost me his friendship. While I can understand that he might not have made the same decision, I do not understand a point of view that would dismiss a long-term friendship over such a small decision.

I once drove my little Toyota across the North Slope of Alaska against the law. Later, for this misdeed, I was fined by a judge -and gladly paid.

Yet I do not consider myself evil. Am I deluded?

- Phoenix, Ariz.

Dr. Laura: Your friend didn't dump you because you did this one thing many years ago. He dumped you because you had no shame or regret. He dumped you because he knew he couldn't afford the risk involved in being a friend to someone who does the expedient, whose word is not his bond, who has no qualms about using and misleading others.

You paid the fine in Alaska; you paid a greater one losing your friend. You still don't seem to get it. Birds of a feather flock together - and he wants to be with a more noble bird than you.

Question: I have a mother-in-law problem. She gave my husband and myself a gift of one night in a bed and breakfast. The gift was a "thank you" for helping her through a business situation that was quite time-consuming for us.

When we received the gift, we thought it was to be used at our discretion. We later found out that it was for the weekend of her birthday, and her other son and wife would also be at the B&B.

I do not want to go. I have offered that my husband take our son or that we reschedule. I feel manipulated.

My husband doesn't want to upset her. Any suggestions?

- Pontiac, Mich.

Dr. Laura: If simply "not being able to go that weekend" (white lie category) would get your mother-in-law "upset" (short for "crazed"), then I can certainly understand your position.

And confronting her would be taken as an outright attack, so that's out.

However, if you were to send a birthday card with a modest gift and your regrets about not being able to share the weekend with her, maybe that will appease the potentially angry god.