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Mon, Sept. 23

Dear Abby | Friend sees too much risk in monitoring home remodel

Dear Abby: For several years, my husband and I were good friends with “Pam” and “David.” About a year ago, we moved to a new house just a few blocks from theirs.

Pam and David both work and I am retired, so Dave asked if I would go to their home throughout the day, while several workmen did this extensive remodel. I refused, saying I wasn’t comfortable alone in someone else’s house with a bunch of strangers milling about, not to mention the responsibility if something was broken or stolen. (The company wasn’t bonded. They are just random guys doing side jobs.)

Long story short, David was extremely offended that I declined and no longer speaks to us. He has shunned other friends for lesser things since then. I’m still friendly with Pam, but I can’t help feeling that deep down she resents me, too, and thinks I should have done it because we are good friends.

Was I wrong to refuse, Abby? Should I have done it to keep the friendship, even though I wasn’t comfortable? – Resentful in the Midwest

Dear Resentful: I not only don’t think you were wrong, I think you made a wise decision, and for the right reason. If anything had gone wrong with the remodel or one of the laborers was less than honest, the blame would have fallen squarely on you. If Pam resents you for protecting yourself, she may not be as good a friend as you assume she is. True friends should be able to say no when it’s warranted, and true friends accept a refusal with good grace.

Dear Abby: Is it possible to “choose” to forgive someone? My 20-year-old nephew recently turned his life around. He has a good job, a nice girlfriend and a baby on the way. But when he and my sister were living with my late mother a few years ago, he trashed Mom’s basement (where he was living), and it cost her hundreds of dollars to repair the damage. He also stole money from her and once threatened my life.

I’m glad he has changed his ways, but he has never apologized for the way he treated us. It seems I’m expected by everyone to forgive and forget, but I can’t.

My sister always seemed oblivious to his bad behavior. Is there any way to reconcile his particular past with the present? – Still Angry in Minnesota

Dear Still Angry: Yes, it is possible to choose to forgive. Talk to him about this so you can get the closure you are seeking.

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