Miss Manners: I can’t listen to my friends’ problems all the time – Lifotravel

Dear Miss Manners: I have a reputation for being a good listener and having a good shoulder to cry on. I am happy to listen to my friends’ troubles and offer encouragement when needed.

But there are times when my personal medical issues take all of my time and energy to deal with, and the troubles of others would exhaust my emotional resources.

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.

New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday through Saturday on washingtonpost.com/advice. You can send questions to Miss Manners at her website, missmanners.com. You can also follow her @RealMissManners.

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