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Ask Anne: Relationship Advice
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Relationship Questions

I Don't Have Any Idea What To Say

Three years ago, I started a new teaching job. Another girl, I'll call Sue, also started the same time I did. Due to some building construction during the summer, Sue's and my teaching materials were piled in the same storage area and we quickly became friends due to constantly being in contact and trying to sort out her materials from the things that should go in my classroom. I found out Sue was single and had just moved into the area so I invited her to share supper with my husband and our two boys, ages 6 and 8. As the year went on, Sue spent more time with us...coming over to watch a movie on a Friday night, going on picnics with us, etc. We even invited her to go camping with us one weekend. We all seemed to get along fine. One evening Sue called and asked me to come to her apartment because she was having problems with her shower. Since we live in a very rural area and I knew there were no repairmen she could call, I was happy to help out and immediately went over to help (she lived about 5 miles away.) After we got the problem figured out she tried to get me to stay longer but I declined and went back home. Within the next few weeks, she was calling 3-4 times each week with some problem that she needed help with...a stuck window, her car wouldn't start, etc. Each time I went to her aid and finally figured out that she was just lonely and wanted some company. Eventually, it started to become a problem and my husband asked me not to spend so much time with her. He was feeling a bit neglected (rightfully so!) and wanted to make sure that I spent more time with him and our boys. I told Sue that I couldn't come over all the time because I needed to be home. She got very upset and told me that I didn't want to be her friend. (This wasn't true at all, but she wouldn't believe me.) At the end of the school year, she moved (without saying goodbye) and I didn't see her again until last week when I saw her at the school where I now substitute teach. Due to some health problems, I had to quit teaching full time and now work as a substitute teacher. I found out, when I was filling in for a 2nd grade teacher, that Sue was back in this same school now teaching 6th grade. I don't want anything to do with her and don't want to say anything that will make her think that I want to be friends. However, I don't have any idea what to say to her should I meet her in the hall or in the teacher's lounge or in some other location in the building. Do you have any suggestions?

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  • 'Anne' is the pseudonym for the individual who writes this relationship advice column.
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