Woman doesn't find friend's boasting a blessing

DEAR ANNIE: I have a lifelong friend who, over the past 10 years, has gotten so steeped in her church that she has become unbearable. She tells me constantly (bragging is more like it) about how her God has blessed her and her family with their new house, all her lovely grandchildren, and getting her together with her current husband (they met online after two divorces). She says she has received everything she has prayed for and goes on about what an amazing job God has done for her family.

I mean, it's getting hard to listen to. I don't want to sound sour, but my circumstances are vastly different, and she knows it. I lost my husband to homicide, and my son passed away at a young age. It seems everything in my life has been an ice-cream cone in the dirt. After one too many losses, I figured there was no God and have given up on religion.

I can't help but be jealous of her good fortune, yet I always reply by saying how happy I am for her. Still, it seems as if she is trying to rub my nose in it. I keep my mouth shut as she goes on and on about how God is blessing her daily. Do you have any ideas short of scrapping the 60-year-old friendship? -- Friendship Woes

DEAR FRIENDSHIP:You might remind her that "the Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away." She has every reason to be grateful for her blessings, but shoving them in your face is ungracious and shows a lack of consideration for your circumstances. Perhaps this is her misguided attempt to bring you into her religious circle, but it is not working. Tell her gently that you are certain she doesn't intend to hurt you by constantly boasting about her blessings, but you would appreciate it if she would stop before it becomes too much to bear.

DEAR ANNIE:My only child just graduated high school. Her summer is full of parties, working and having fun with her friends. This includes staying out later on weekday evenings.


As the only parent, I work full time and need to be in bed by a decent time. I don't want to be awakened by her coming home or, worse, worrying about whether she's OK. She's a great girl with a good head on her shoulders. But as a widow, I know firsthand that bad things can happen to the people you love.

How do I deal with this new wrinkle as my daughter teeters on the brink of adulthood? She still needs rules and guidance. I don't want to be overprotective. Is there a compromise that will put my mind at ease and let her enjoy her summer? -- Mom

DEAR MOM:You are smart to anticipate these problems and understand the pitfalls. First, if your daughter has a job, she, too, needs to get some rest. Discuss this with her. Explain the problem from your perspective, and let her weigh in. Work out a "contract," in which she agrees to respond promptly to your calls or texts and to call if she cannot get home safely, and you agree to pick her up, etc. But you cannot protect her from everything, Mom, and in the near future, you will have no control over it anyway. It will help if you train yourself in the difficult task of letting go.

DEAR ANNIE:Your reply to "Need Help in California" was right on. My cousin has been married to her first cousin for more than 50 years. They have raised four healthy, intelligent kids who have subsequently given birth to healthy, intelligent grandkids.

Our extended family may have fretted a bit at first, but we loved them and noticed immediately that they were a great match. They still are. -- California Cousin Now in Hawaii

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