Ask Amy: Writer gives friend a portfolio of his work, is surprised when the answer is ‘no comment’

Dear Amy: I am a self-employed woman.

Over the past few decades I have written personal essays for various publications. I don’t make money from it; If only I could!

I have a full portfolio of my work. Some pieces are humorous; some are serious.

I moved to a new town three years ago and made a new friend. She was going on a long drive, so I offered to give her some of my essays to read while she was away.

She didn’t say a word about any of the trials. I’m surprised because two of the plays mention how my son fought off cancer as a teenager. I had never broached this extremely personal subject with my friend. I thought that was a good way to light it up. (My son is now cancer free.)

I finally asked her if she was reading any of my work. She said she did. She made no comment. Nothing positive; nothing negative.

I find that very strange and a little insulting. I’m not a terrible writer. If the plays were poorly written, they would not have been published in the first place.

Is my friend upset that I have never brought up the subject of my son’s illness before? I believe she is the kind of person who would let me know that the omission upset her.

She also did not comment on the humorous pieces. Won’t a friend say SOMETHING?

I don’t understand why she didn’t say a word about something very close to my heart.

Ideas?

– At a loss in Colorado

Dear At a Lost: A negative response from a friend might be deflating, but no response is much worse, as the writer in you fills the void with questions and doubts.

Yes, I think it’s possible that your friend was shocked by some of the personal revelations you wrote down but never revealed to her. But some people just don’t realize that the most kind response from a friend is to offer encouragement, a question, or a compliment, along with less positive feedback if the conversation goes further.

It’s possible that your friend just didn’t like your work and doesn’t know how to deliver a vague, friendly acknowledgment that might satisfy you.

Because it worries you, you might say, “I’m a little confused that you haven’t said anything about my work. Are you ready to discuss it? If she refuses, accept it. You should republish your work on a website, so that in the future anyone interested in your writings can easily find and read them for themselves, without you rushing them.

Dear Amy: I had only been living with my boyfriend for two months when his mother’s living situation (in another state) took a turn for the worse. He wanted her to move in with us. I was really naive and ignored all the negative things his siblings warned me about. They said she would try to destroy our relationship.

Well, she moved in and slowly started a campaign. She made sarcastic comments and constantly criticized me. Her son confronted her and took my place, so she multiplied the attacks whenever he was not physically present.

She and I had a few rough fights and he confronted her and asked her to apologize, but I knew she didn’t mean a word of it.

I told her that even if I accepted her apology, she and I could not live under the same roof. We took her back to her home country.

After dropping her off and driving her home, he informed me that he had been having second thoughts and was relocating his mother with us, and understood that to mean that I would be leaving. I am furious and hurt.

He says it’s temporary. He minimizes his abusive behavior and even criticizes me for being combative.

Should I leave the relationship or am I being too picky?

– Am I moving?

Dear Am I Moving? : Yes, you are moving. You are moving because your boyfriend has accepted your non-negotiable and demonstrated to you that he prefers to live with his mother.

Dear Amy: ‘Surviving Sister’ described a harrowing situation where a ‘wellness check’ from their brother led armed police to take the handcuffed man away.

People seem to wonder why family separations happen. In my opinion, it often comes down to a refusal to acknowledge and apologize for unintended consequences.

– Was there

Dear been there: I completely agree.

You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068.