DEAR ABBY by Abigail Van Buren
BEST FRIEND CALLS THE POLICE AFTER MAN THREATENS SUICIDE
DEAR ABBY: I am a woman in my late 30s. “Tim” and I have been best friends for more than 10 years. Over the last few years, he has struggled with depression and addiction, and I have done my best to help him.
A few weeks back, Tim called me crying and said he was planning to end his life. It wasn’t the first time he has spoken this way, but it was the first time he described a plan of action. Because I was alarmed, I called the police to do a welfare check. They went to Tim’s home, which is across the country from mine, and took him to a psychiatric facility for several days. Now that he’s out, he’s furious with me for notifying the police and says I betrayed him. He said he doesn’t know if we can continue to be friends.
I feel terrible, like I perhaps made a mistake by calling reinforcements, but I was more worried about the consequences of not calling. My family is telling me I should step away from the friendship altogether, but I can’t imagine doing that. Please help. — TAKES FRIENDSHIP SERIOUSLY
DEAR TAKES: Your family’s advice to step away seems sensible. You did NOT make a mistake by calling to see that Tim got help after he told you he had a plan in place to take his own life. You were trying to help him and prevent a tragedy, and that’s a good thing.
Tim is clearly very ill and, unfortunately, there is little you can do to fix what’s wrong with him (which is plenty). If you know his family, inform them about what has been going on. And because he doesn’t know if he can continue being friends with you, leave it up to him to decide.
DEAR ABBY: My brother’s wife is pregnant, and there is talk about their moving to the state where her family lives. There are only three people in my sister-in-law’s family (one is elderly and two others work full time) who may provide her with support during her transition into motherhood. On the other hand, there are 10 of us who could help them emotionally and physically if they stay here.
My sister-in-law plans on being a stay-at-home mom, which I wholeheartedly support. My brother would move to the state where her family resides only in order to appease her. Our family is closer than her family. I feel we can provide them with more love and support than her family. What can I say or do to show them that living near our family is the best decision? — NEAR IS BETTER
DEAR NEAR: I’m sure you mean well, but do not make the mistake of trying to “sell” your sister-in-law on staying. It appears her mind is made up. If she feels she would be more comfortable with her own family as she approaches this milestone, not much you can say will dissuade her. Of course, nothing prevents you from telling your brother how you feel, if you haven’t already.
You might also suggest they consider renting for a year rather than buying a home right away, to see how they like it. That way, once the baby arrives and reality hits, she may realize she won’t have the support she may need, and they may decide to return.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
To receive a collection of Abby’s most memorable — and most frequently requested — poems and essays, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby — Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.