Pinings — Advice by Sherry Hughes


Dear Pinings,

How do you tell someone that you donít want to be friends with them? Thereís a woman that I met through a support group a number of years ago. We had lunch a couple of times and talked on the phone. I like her; sheís very nice, but I donít want to be hanging out with her all the time, which is what she seems to want. Iím in a relationship, have a full-time job and have other things I like to do. Sheís single and has two kids living at home with her (they are in their 20s). Iím quite a bit younger than she is and I feel as if sheís kind of ó well, she seems older than just age-wise.

I feel as if we are on completely different wavelengths. And I avoid her if I see her coming down the street.

How do I handle this correctly?



Dear Fiona,

If you figure this out, let me know. I really donít know the best way out of this kind of situation without hurting someoneís feelings. She obviously likes you as a friend Ö and it sounds like you liked her as a friend at one point. Maybe your lives were more similar at one time and they arenít anymore.

You can always be honest with her and tell her that you just donít think the two of you have much in common and you donít want to be rude, but letís stop seeing each other. No, better not use that line, too much like a breakup. How about you just ignore her calls and avoid her on the street? Already trying that one, huh?

Hereís what I think. I think you can find it in your heart to make a plan for lunch with the poor gal every couple of months. What is it going to cost you? You say you like her but donít want to be as close as she wants to be. Well, then, lunch every other month is perfect. Lunch lasts an hour or so and you will have the excuse of having  to get back to the office. During that hour, you can be kind and charming and feign interest in her life and her children.

This gal might not be your idea of a best friend, but you did cultivate a relationship with her at one point, and unless you want to be a compete jerk, you should just suck it up and throw her an emotional bone. You might not need her, but it sounds like she sure needs you.

Sherry Hughes welcomes letters from readers.  Reach her via e-mail at

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