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DEAR HARRIETTE: I haven’t seen my camp friend from California in over two years — partially because of the pandemic. She recently reached out to me and said she would be in New York for a few days. She asked me if I wanted to grab dinner. Even though at one point we considered ourselves best friends, I feel like we have grown apart; I’m scared that if I meet with her, it will be awkward and make me uncomfortable. It’s already triggering my social anxiety, but I would also feel bad if I said no and missed out on reconnecting. What should I do? How should I handle the situation? — Long-Distance Friendship
DEAR LONG-DISTANCE FRIENDSHIP: Many people are feeling anxious about catching up with friends after a year and a half of quarantine. You are not alone. Friendships change over time. This unusual period of isolation has only exacerbated an already potentially tense moment. Still, I say go for it. Meet up with your friend but without expectations. Just be happy to be able to see her in per- son. Instead of attempting to step back into your friendship exactly as it was, just be present. Ask her about her life and tell her stories about yours. Get reacquainted naturally. Ease into your conversation. If you go into the evening with the attitude that you are going to enjoy this reunion, you will. No expectations, just a nice time.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My older sister made a “joke” about being the one to inherit my grandfather’s house when he dies. This was particularly upsetting because my grandfather recently had a horrible stroke and hasn’t been 100% himself since it happened. He’s in his mid-80s, so my family and I have been trying to prepare ourselves for the inevitable. My sister’s comments about her inheritance have been more and more frequent lately, and now I’m kind of wondering if this is something she is hoping for. I want to confront her about it, but I don’t want to cause a huge fight between us. What should I do? — Insensitive Sister
DEAR INSENSITIVE SISTER: First, know that you have no control over your grandfather’s estate. Whatever he chooses to do with his assets is up to him, and he should have a will that outlines exactly what his intentions are. Know that one of the biggest stressors in a family occurs after a loved ones dies and their belongings are distributed.
Yes, your sister is being insensitive about your grandfather’s estate. Pull her aside and ask her to stop. Point out that you all know that your grandfather is ill, and now is the time to focus on him, not what you are going to get from him. Tell her that the ongoing commentary about her potential inheritance is rude and insensitive. You can also ask her why she keeps saying this. Did your grandfather tell her he was willing his home to her? Where did she get this information? Even if this is true, encourage her to stop her banter. Out of love for your grandfather, she should be thinking about him, not her potential windfall after he dies.
Harriette Cole is a lifestyl- ist and founder of DREAM- LEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and acti- vate their dreams. You can send questions to askharri- firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.