Published on December 20th, 2013 | by The Town Crier0
At Town Crier, we occasionally get letters from readers seeking advice on all manner of personal situations. They could be questions of etiquette, social faux-pas or family matters. We are always happy to help and so we have enlisted the help of a local stalwart who in her own words has seen it all and calls a spade a gardener. Lady Ophelia d’Knight, (Offa to her friends, but we’re allowed to call her lady d’Knight), will be happy to answer any of your queries in future issues.
Dear Lady d’Knight
When a relationship has gone sour, you know, however painful, that you’ve got to be honest and end it. But what happens when it’s a very long-standing friendship? My friend and I have, over the years, followed different paths and no longer have anything in common – this includes politics, books, cinema – you name it. I no longer look forward to meeting her and, in fact, I have come to dread it. Should I keep making excuses not to meet and hope the penny drops, or should I be honest and tell the truth?
This dilemma has been troubling me for some months and so, being a coward and to put off making any kind of decision, I have done a straw poll of friends, acquaintances and even my hairdresser. They all say telling the truth is too brutal and I should just make the best of it.
I think friendship is as important as a romantic relationship, so why should I apply lesser criteria and less honesty to its maintenance and ending?
We’ve all been in your situation. That moment when you are sitting opposite someone, listening to them drone on, and you realise that all you now have in common is that you used to be friends. I’m not sure, however, that you need to do anything. Friendships aren’t the same as a romance, otherwise I would have had more affairs than I actually have! In that scenario you are looking for a life partner and if it’s not working you need to move on, but friends provide all sorts of different elements in our lives. The funny ones, the clever ones, the ones you don’t really like any more but still see a couple of times a year out of duty.
Staying in touch with someone as a friend when the relationship has changed doesn’t have to feel dishonest. Think of it as your way of acknowledging the special bond you once shared. If you choose to deliberately end things all the good times will be tarnished by a very messy finish. Somewhere down the line you will bump into this woman and when that happens which would you prefer? A wave of shared history, or a dank pool of bad blood?
Dear Lady d’Knight
I have a modern etiquette-type question. When is too late to phone someone at home? I’ve just been chewed out for calling a girl I had been on a date with two days beforehand at 9pm – she thought I was presuming some sort of intimacy (which had not taken place, although I was hoping it might on the next date, which now looks unlikely). My friends’ opinions vary: some say 8pm is the latest, but others don’t mind being contacted until late into the night by relatively casual acquaintances. But how can you tell unless you know the person?
I think the truth is, to quote the young people, ‘she’s just not that into you’. The answer for future reference, however, is simple; send a text! It’s non-invasive and she can respond or not. And by-the-way, intimacy on a 2nd date, I think not, unless of course you are very, very rich….
Lady Offa d’Knight