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Ask Lisi: It's OK to walk away from an old friendship

Advice: If they’re not the kind of friend you’d like to keep, you don’t owe it to them to hang on

Dear Lisi: Years ago, we were three friends; we raised our daughters together. Our daughters are now grown, and we haven’t really seen each other much over the last 10 years. One of the friends, A, has made an effort to become closer to me again. The other friend, B, thinks it’s great that we are getting the band back together.

I went out with A several times without B over the past few months. Each time, I was embarrassed by her terrible manners. We went for pedicures — she was rude and demanding to the women who worked there. We went for lunch, and she was rude to the waiter. We went out shopping, and she was rude to the sales clerks. She under tips and returns used items to stores. Wherever we go, she tries to get something for nothing or a discount.

She just inherited a large sum of money so being frugal is not the point. Recently, we went to Ikea and she stole something. I gently confronted her; told her I saw her hide an item and not pay for it. It was a silent ride home.

I have kept all of this to myself, and decided that I would quietly withdraw from this friendship. It was A’s birthday recently, and I declined to join them for a celebratory dinner. Now B is giving me the cold shoulder. I think A made up a lie to explain why I wouldn’t come for dinner and why l have stopped seeing her.

Should I tell B what’s been happening with A? Or wait for her to figure it out for herself?

Old friends, bad habits

If A is not the kind of friend you’d like to keep, you don’t owe it to her to hang on. You were friends when your daughters connected you. They’ve grown and the connection is no longer there. I’m sure it was nice to see each other and reminisce. But if there’s no common thread, it’s OK to walk away.

The same goes for your friendship with B.

As for A’s antics — she knows you know. Short of turning her in for shoplifting, you can’t change her bad behaviour. B will figure it out soon enough, and she’ll either roll with it or walk away.

FEEDBACK regarding the married woman thinking about her youth (Jan.18):

Reader — “You gave bad advice to ‘Confused’ based on the information provided. I realize the original letters are much longer and condensed for publishing purposes, but I presume the basics are accurate.

“Confused had a long ago female-female sexual relationship. Now, she is happily married to a man and has two children. She expressed complete satisfaction with her current life but has been thinking about her past and wondering if she should tell people.

“Being young, vulnerable, coming out of a breakup, wanting connection, summer love, being open to exploring are all the reasons why she had that relationship.

“No one needs to be told. It’s her private information, and there is no reason to tell anyone, even her husband. She stated it was in the past, no concerns about her heterosexuality, none about the marriage. Why upset a good marriage with information that might topple it? Some people, men particularly, have a hard time accepting their spouse’s past. It bothers them and taints the current relationship.

“One must accept that one’s partner has a sexual past. There’s no need to discuss it with anyone unless you decide you want to. But be aware that once you tell one person, you have no control over who else will find out. It could get back to people you don’t want knowing, including your children and your parents.

“I had 32 years’ experience as a Sexual Health Nurse and was trusted with ‘secrets’ that no one else would ever know.”

FEEDBACK regarding the woman wanting her pyjamas returned (Feb. 14):

Reader — “The woman who was so terribly annoyed about her left-behind, brand-new PJs should have been the one to go and pick them up. Why should her friend have to return them? She’s the one who forgot them. I don’t blame him for throwing them at the front door.”

Lisi — The longer letter described multiple attempts by the woman to retrieve her brand-new purchase. She called, texted, knocked on his door, suggested they meet for coffee, offered to pop over whenever it suited him. He simply refused to respond. She became frustrated, annoyed and forced to resort to begging.

I respectfully disagree with you. He had to return the pyjamas. They weren’t his to keep. By holding them hostage, he was playing a childish game.

Ellie Tesher and Lisi Tesher are advice columnists based in Toronto. Send your relationship questions via email: or

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