Dear Amy: I belong to a group of nine women who are all retired teachers of various ages. We have met monthly for 35 years.
We started this group because, although we worked for the same school district, several moved to different schools, and this was a way for us to stay connected.
In the past we have been respectful, loving, and supportive toward each other. Lately I have not been feeling the love, and I am devastated.
At our last meeting I announced, very proudly, that my daughter (also an educator) received loan forgiveness of $52,000.
My daughter has two master’s degrees and has been working with children for 20 years. She has paid promptly on her loans for 10 years now, and this debt forgiveness is truly a blessing.
When I mentioned this news — my goodness, you would have thought I told them she’d robbed a bank!
All but one person (who I had told earlier and was very supportive), expressed their opinions about the loan forgiveness program and how they were against their tax dollars helping my daughter.
I think I would have had a nicer reaction from a stranger at the supermarket.
It is still raw. How do I heal?
— Upset Teacher
Dear Upset: This episode has revealed the unfortunate dynamic created for some people when they learn about someone else’s windfall.
It’s not pretty.
Respect, love and support are sometimes much more easily offered toward someone who is hurting.
You’ve also stumbled into first-hand knowledge of how some people are responding to this life-changing debt forgiveness program.
People enjoying their own retirement did not experience the crushing debt that many younger people have landed in, in order to fund their education.
(My own college debt, which took 10 years to pay off, was low-interest chicken scratch compared to what more recent graduates have had to tackle.)
Furthermore, relieving these younger people of debt enables them to invest in their kids’ educations, as well as their own retirements.
Younger generations will likely not have company pension plans and cannot necessarily count on Social Security as their retirement safety net.
You can heal from this by accepting the limitations of the people in your group. You’ve uncovered an indelicate side to them, but this reaction was not personal — to you or your daughter. They likely would have expressed the same to a stranger at the supermarket.
Dear Amy: I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
About a year ago, I had breakfast with a friend of mine, “Pat.”
I’ve known Pat for 40 years. I picked up Pat, drove her to the restaurant, and after the meal I brought her back home.
I asked if I might use her bathroom before continuing on the way to my house, which is about 15 miles away.
Pat said no.
I mentioned that I really couldn’t wait, due to the IBS. I pleaded and was told absolutely not.
Well, I fumed all the way home, and I was in a bad way.
I made it, but I was not happy with my friend’s treatment of me.
Pat called about a month later to inquire why I haven’t been in touch.
I told Pat how I felt and reminded her of the many times I’ve hosted parties and she was always invited. I have seen the inside of Pat’s apartment, but have never even had as much as a cup of coffee offered to me.
I feel like I’ve been used. I really don’t feel the need to entertain Pat anymore.
I have forgiven Pat, I just don’t want to have anything to do with her.
Am I being petty?
— Barely Made It Home
Dear Barely Made It: A friend in need is a friend, indeed.
I agree with you that in this instance, “Pat” demonstrated a complete lack of regard for your basic needs. It’s tough to reckon with the faults and failings of someone you’ve known for a very long time, but for you — this episode brought on a reckoning, and once you’ve gotten to that point, it’s hard to get back.
I’m glad you’ve forgiven Pat; I don’t blame you for keeping your distance, now.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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