Dear Amy: I’m asking a question on behalf of my friend, “Brad,” who is in a sticky situation.
Brad’s dad had surgery several weeks ago and is doing well now.
He stayed with Brad while he recuperated for nearly two months — all through the holidays.
The dad has his own home nearby and is a widower.
He has settled into Brad’s home with absolutely no regard for other family members. Brad’s daughter recently packed her bags and moved out because there is no more privacy at the home.
Brad and I actually took the dad to a medical appointment and then took him to his house to see what shape it was in.
The home is organized, cozy and his own, but he is refusing to leave Brad’s house.
He has no concept of privacy. He took over the entire first floor living room, kitchen, guest bathroom, den, and dining room.
Brad can’t enjoy his own home anymore, and his dad won’t budge!
Do you have any ideas on how to politely and tactfully ask Dad to return to his own home?
Is there a way I can mediate this situation to take some of the burden of Brad?
— Supportive Friend
Dear Supportive: “Brad’s” father might be nervous about returning to his home post-surgery, and since he seems to have settled into his son’s home so thoroughly, he has no incentive to leave.
If Brad and his dad’s physician are certain his father has recovered and is safe living on his own, Brad could set a quick deadline for his father to return to his own house. This should be conveyed in a neutral, no-nonsense, friendly and firm fashion: “Dad, it’s time to get you back home so we can all get back into our routines. I’m going to take you back on Friday, so let’s start getting you packed up.”
If his father balks, Brad could suggest that he needs to “give it a try,” and Brad could stay overnight with him there to make sure he can get reacclimated. The son should offer lots of reassurance.
Brad (and you) should help him to get moved in and settled and should prepare a meal and eat with him.
Brad should make sure his father has access to nutritious and easy-to-prepare food.
His father might also benefit from a “life alert”-type system, which can offer a safety net for those living alone, and peace of mind for their loved ones.
Dear Amy: When my husband died, one of his friends started calling me. I got a small amount of life insurance and within six months he asked to borrow some money. I had him sign a note.
He paid monthly until I sold my house and moved to a smaller place. Then he stopped paying and answering my calls.
I wrote off the debt to my new life’s “tuition.”
He called me recently. He said he had to know why I was mad at him.
I said I was hurt that he used me as an ATM, and that he could repair things by repaying me, but not to call me again.
The problem is he still calls. I blocked Facebook, email, and my phone to him.
We share some friends, and they say they have “given” him money.
Most of them are still friends with him. I still get messages from him, as my friends tell him my new cell number.
What do I do? I don’t want to lose my social circle.
— The ATM
Dear ATM: You won’t lose your social circle, if you remove this man from being at the center of it.
Your friends have a right to assume the risk of having a friendship with him.
Block his number on your new phone. Don’t comment when others discuss him. He is no longer your problem.
Dear Amy: “Wondering” had a friend whose father died on the friend’s birthday.
My mother passed away on my 10th birthday. The day has been bittersweet for the 52 years since.
I would suggest that wishing me a happy day while qualifying it as the anniversary of my mother’s death is truly unkind.
If you want to talk to me face to face about the mix of my birthday and loss of my mother, there may be a time to do that, but in a card — no thank you.
Dear Stephanie: This was a very recent loss for “Wondering’s” friend, and thank you for offering your perspective.
Bittersweet, indeed. This sounds very tough.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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