My friend’s sense of humour is very funny, and cynical. We’re both mid-30s.
I like her a lot. My own humour is very different, not as sharp-edged.
Recently, I tried to respond the same way but my goofy comment backfired.
It soon became obvious that she was avoiding me. When asked why, she said I’d insulted her.
I apologized profusely, but my “mistake” seemed to have cost me the friendship.
I called to explain myself better, but she cut me off.
I then wrote an email, saying how sorry I was for hurting her feelings, and I apologized again.
I think we’re finally okay again now but I wonder how to handle the future with a friend who’s much more sensitive than she seems.
Lots of people use humour to mask certain insecurities. Comedians, clowns, have a history of hiding sensitivities behind their jokes and antics.
You couldn’t have known this about your friend beforehand, but now you’re aware that she has some “sore spots.”
Leave the biting humour to her, since you find it funny and she apparently doesn’t direct it at you personally.
FEEDBACK Regarding a woman’s frustrations dealing with her brother’s difficulties due to his being a hoarder (June 22):
Dear Readers - The following regards a June 22 question from a woman about how to deal with her brother who’s a hoarder.
Two responses from people professionally involved with hoarders provide specific suggestions, information, and resources that can apply to any locale.
Reader # 1 – “The Hoarding Project (Waterloo Region, Canada) offers a wide range of supports.
“In this case, the first step would be to try to stabilize the hoarder’s housing situation.
“We’d reach out to the landlord, and provide information on the complexities of this disorder.
“We’d ask if the family and landlord could work together. (The landlord having given three days’ eviction notice was not realistic at all.)
“Hoarders are dealing with a vast array of other issues and need to be supported. This process is slow.
“Then we’d create a plan of action – including the individual, any siblings who are able to offer support, and potentially other service providers e.g. a counsellor, a family doctor, etc.
“This will look very different based on where the individual is at mentally, and what their goals are.
“We primarily work from a Harm Reduction philosophy.
“It can be difficult for a family member trying to help, as the hoarder may feel bullied or misunderstood.
“Always involve the person, ask how they feel and what they want. Then offer suggestions while being compassionate and understanding.
“The primary goal is to ensure the person is safe, has adequate housing and feels empowered.
“Legally, their residence needs to be safe from a fire, health and safety standpoint, especially if living in an attached dwelling.”
Supportive Housing of Waterloo (SHOW)
P: 519-886-8200 x 24
Reader #2 – “Our program offers support groups, consultations, individual and family counselling, crisis management and trainings, in our area, but we also help connect people with resources in their area.
“The tool we developed to help address hoarding cases (Ellie – it’s also based on the harm reduction approach) is being used in the U.S., Canada, and Australia.
“It aids professionals and individuals in developing objective and realistic goals for safety and functionality of the home.
“We also have a closed Facebook group for individuals looking for support.”
North Shore Elder Services
We’re in our 70s, living in a southern U.S. state.
We’d invited friends to visit us for a week. They asked if they could bring their live-in son, 31. We agreed.
They arrived with a very ill son whom they’d actually brought to recuperate in the sun.
A week later, my husband came down with a serious infection and has had to be hospitalized three times over it.
He was finally diagnosed with pneumonia and a lung filled with fluid which doctors were unable to drain.
Now he requires surgery which is risky at our age.
What can we say to future visitors to avoid such a result?
You’ve unfortunately earned the right to be frank and firm, with any future guests.
Ask to be reassured that no guest is knowingly ill or fighting an infection.
Should anyone arrive ill without warning, insist that they recuperate at a hotel, go home, or you avoid contact with them.
Tip of the day:
Leave biting humour to those who can carry it off.