Ask Amy is a syndicated column in the United States in which Amy Dickinson offers advice to those who ask on a broad range of issues.
On May 8, one advice seeker probably wished she would have kept her question to herself when she spilled the beans on her, her other sister, and her cousins’ habit of excluding one sister from their routine shopping excursions.
“I have a sister ‘Wendy,’ who we do not invite,” she writes. “She is offended to the point of tears when she finds we have not invited her. My two sisters and I are very close in age, but Wendy hasn’t been as close to this set of cousins as my sister and I have been through the years.”
The writer of the letter — “Sad Sister” — reveals that she and the others are “all married stay-at-home moms,” while “Wendy is a divorced, working mom with one young child.”
“There are several reasons we do not include her,” she explains. “We know she doesn’t have very much money for such an outing. She also does not have many of the same interests as we do. Her life is quite different from ours. We’re not interested in what she has to talk about. She complains too much about her aches and pains, and claims to have some kind of neurological disease that some of us feel is more psychosomatic than real and which she uses to avoid getting up for church on Sundays.”
Sad Sister then goes on to complain that “We’re all very active churchgoers, while she only sporadically attends services. Plain and simple, she does not really fit in with us anymore.”
Surprised that her sister “takes it very personally,” Sad Sister shares how, last year, her sister “even came over to my home unannounced crying about it, which upset my children and caused my husband to threaten to call the police if she did not leave.”
“Now she barely speaks to me and has told our relatives that I am a horrible person (even though I’ve helped her),” the writer adds. “How can we get her to understand that she should perhaps find another set of friends whose lives and interests align more closely with hers?”
Clearly, the letter writer was expecting a sympathetic ear from Ask Amy, but that’s not what she received. Here’s what Dickinson had to say:
First, let’s establish that I agree with your sister: You are a horrible person.
Obviously, you can do whatever you want and associate with — or exclude — whomever you want, but you don’t get to do this and also blame the person you are excluding for not “fitting in.”
The only way your sister would ever fit in would be for you to make room for her. You are unwilling to do that, and that is your choice. But her being upset is completely justified, and you’ll just have to live with that.
Perhaps this is something you could ponder from your church pew because despite your regular attendance, you don’t seem to have learned much.
The response made it to the top of Reddit page one on Saturday with a clipping of the newspaper excerpt as well as 1,186 comments at the time of this writing.
This isn’t the first time that an advice columnist has flipped the script on a complaining letter writer. In February, we told you about the Florida couple who felt “shunned” by their neighborhood after refusing to associate with a gay couple.
They sought the sympathy of Dear Abby, but found there was none there to give.
What do you think in the case of the Ask Amy letter writer? Does she have a point, or did Dickinson give her the comeuppance she deserved?