DEAR AMY: I’m a middle-aged woman with no life!
I was never a very social person growing up, and my ex-husband wasn’t the friendly type (we’ve been divorced for 10 years). The last several years I was the primary caregiver for family members, so I got into the habit of going straight to work and then rushing home to do the things that needed doing. Sadly the last of these family members passed away a year ago, but I’m still just going to work and coming straight home to a lonely, empty house.
I never had children and I was always too busy to get to know the extended family (aunts, cousins, etc.) They’ve made it clear that now that I’m alone they don’t want anything to do with me. During the holidays I wasn’t invited to any of the family get-togethers. And when I’ve issued invitations, they say we'll get together but we never do. My siblings live in other states.
I know and want to join some classes like yoga and art courses, but I have the world’s worst work schedule; sometimes I work day shift, then mid-shift and even some nights.
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I never know what my days off are going to be until I receive my schedule. The company I work for frowns on employees being friends outside of work. Living in a small city doesn’t offer a lot of opportunities to find activities I can join.
I haven’t been on a date in well over a year or had a meal with someone in a restaurant in years. It’s like I’ve forgotten how to live.
Amy, I’m so lonely and pray every day for love and laughter to come into my home. What can I do to have a life? I do take vacations (alone) go out to eat (alone) and keep myself busy with reading and home projects, but isn’t there more to life? Any realistic ideas or suggestions?
DEAR LONELY: I have three potential game-changing suggestions:
Move to an apartment or into densely clustered housing in town. Get a dog. Join a gym that’s open all-hours.
You seem to be a very nice and friendly person. If you do the three things I suggest, your daily activities (going to get your mail, walking your dog, going to a class at the gym) will take you into glancing proximity to other people. Dogs, especially, are wonderful friend-makers between humans.
DEAR AMY: My friend and I were serious car hobbyists for about 10 years. We’ve had some great times over the years. Circumstances caused him to stop all of these activities about three years ago.
He sold all of his stuff, except for one car, which he stored. Recently, he made it quite clear that he was never going to return to our shared hobby.
I waited about three weeks after this announcement and then emailed him a detailed offer to buy his car. Two weeks passed with no response. I sent him another email asking for some response – nothing.
I emailed him again two weeks later. Several days later he sent me a counter offer, saying it had taken so long because it was a hard decision.
I responded the next day with another offer. Again, 10 days passed and nothing, so I contacted him again.
I think it is extremely rude of him to just ignore my emails. He could just decline or respond promptly that he is thinking about it, but to do nothing, I feel, is kind of an insult. What should I do?
DEAR CLUELESS: Why should this person feel pressured to respond promptly? You are not inviting him to a social event or asking a personal or a friendship-type question, which would be rude to ignore.
This is about his car. He owns it. He gets to decide what to do with it. He has already told you this is a hard decision; if he eagerly wanted to sell it to you, he would have let you know promptly.
His silence might also be part of his negotiation. Maybe if you raised your offer he would get back to you more quickly.
DEAR AMY: I was so disappointed in your response to “Sarah,” who objected to her daughter-in-law’s behavior, class and breeding. “Breeding” is an important factor in behavior; so is class.
DEAR DISAPPOINTED: “Sarah” disrespected the younger woman’s ethnicity and culture. Referring to poor “breeding” was another way to express this lack of respect and was completely inappropriate.
Email Amy Dickinson at email@example.com.