My friend is an accomplished lawyer, very bright and has had great success in her career. She is well respected among her peers and colleagues, and has risen up the ranks in her firm. She has a field of specialty, which I won’t mention, but suffice to say, it’s niche.
However, amongst her friends, she acts as though her legal prowess is in every field imaginable. Recently, a group of us were out for dinner. One woman is going through a long separation process. The lawyer kept giving her legal advice, some of which was contrary to this woman’s divorce lawyer’s advice. Another woman was describing her father-in-law’s will and estate issues since he recently passed. Again, the lawyer started giving her advice contrary to what her estate lawyer had given.
And none of the women had asked her for advice. We were all just sharing what was going on in our lives. Though we appreciate her help, she states her knowledge as gospel, ending the conversation abruptly. Fortunately, she got called away, and the rest of us breathed a sigh of relief and went back to our conversations.
We like this woman when she’s not wearing her unsolicited legal robes. How do we maintain a friendship with her without all the legalese?
Good friends are hard to come by, so try not to push this one away. I get the feeling that talking to her privately won’t be easy, but you should give it a try. Be prepared for her to get defensive and haughty. Double down on how much her friendship means to you and the other women. Focus on how much you appreciate her as a friend and confidante, not just as a brilliant lawyer.
My friend for many years has really upset me. My mother and sister decided to throw me a surprise 30th birthday party. Together they came up with a list of invitees. They reached out to my closest friends to check on dates, and then chose a date that suited everyone – including this one friend.
Invitations went out, planning was underway, and I was clueless. The big night game, a ruse was planned and executed, and I was very pleasantly surprised by the effort made by all who planned and attended.
But this one friend was a no-show. I asked my sister if she had invited her and my sister told me that not only had she been invited, but their other preferred date conflicted with something of hers, so this date was chosen.
My sister was annoyed but didn’t let it ruin her night. A week passed, my actual birthday passed, and still no word from this friend. An entire month passed until I decided I didn’t want to let this go on any longer. I called my friend and she acted as though we had spoken only a week ago. I found it strange, so called her out almost immediately.
She became huffy, said she was busy, and that she’d explain later and hung up.
No, you’re not; because if you were, you wouldn’t be writing me for advice. I like your approach of waiting, then taking matters into your own hands. And I agree – why bother with small talk foreplay when a bigger issue is at hand?
Take a breath and some time to calm down. You have every right to be upset but it won’t help the situation. Call her back and state clearly that, if there’s something she wants to tell you, you are here to listen. However, friends don’t just bail on friends, so she hopefully has a good excuse.
Hear her out and then decide what you want from this relationship.
FEEDBACK Regarding the school principal having dinner with a parent (July 10):
Reader – “I’ve just read the letter from a female parent talking about her friendship with a male principal and wanting to go out for a private dinner. I’m a recently retired principal and hear lots of alarm bells going off on this one.
“It’s completely inappropriate for a principal to have private dinner dates with parents. The principal must maintain a professional arms-length relationship with parents (and staff). For the sake of their reputations and the principal’s integrity and ability to maintain an honest, transparent and open relationship with the school community (and the board), the book needs to be closed on this plan.
“It’s not a good position for the child (student), the parent, or the administration.”
Lisi – Though I agree with you for the most part, there is nothing in the original letter stating that the letter writer is female.