When a friend who’s going through a rough time calls me on a day when I am also having a rough time, how can I respond in a way that will allow me to get the rest I desperately need to recover?
Dear Miss Manners: I am in my 50s, and I have an issue with my best friend of 35 years. We don’t live in the same state anymore, but we talk several times a week and try to visit every year.
We are both crafty people. Two years ago, I started making her a big, beautiful, counted cross-stitch, then had it custom-framed. The project took several months and she knew I was making it. I drove six hours each way to deliver my gift to her.
She offered (I didn’t ask) to make me a quilt out of T-shirts that I had collected over the years from places I had been. So I cut the logos/graphics off the shirts and mailed them to her. She said it would only take her about a week to make the quilt.
That was two years ago. My friend still has not made the quilt.
I have since moved even farther away, I miss home, and I really want that quilt! I have asked her about it several times. It would mean so much to me — especially now that I am over 1,000 miles away — but she just makes empty promises about finishing it. Meanwhile, she has found the time to make other crochet and cross-stitch items for her extended family and to remodel her kitchen.
So now, she has these T-shirt pieces that I cannot replace, and I still have no quilt. I’m very hurt about the whole thing, and I would like to ask her to send the pieces back to me. At least that way, I could hire someone to make me a quilt out of them.
Am I being unreasonable? Should I ask her to send the pieces back to me if she doesn’t plan to make my quilt?
“Ever since you mentioned that quilt, I have dreamt of having it, with all of those priceless memories, on my wall. But I know how busy you are, so if you wouldn’t mind returning the T-shirts, I think I’ll take a stab at doing it myself.”
And then Miss Manners suggests you send an oversize self-addressed stamped envelope so that your friend has no excuse — and so that you do not need to travel another 1,000 miles.