DEAR ABBY: “Stella” and I have been close friends for 25 years. Two years ago, she was in a car accident and suffered a traumatic brain injury. She has since recovered and returned to work.
Stella’s personality has changed a lot since the accident. Her language and clothing are inappropriate. At 65 years old, her wardrobe now consists of miniskirts, spike heels, over-the-knee lace-up boots, halter tops, etc. She says suggestive things to my boyfriend in front of me. He no longer wants to be around her. Most of Stella’s friends have distanced themselves, and her husband has moved out of their home.
I remember how close we once were, and I don’t want to end the friendship, but I don’t think I can tolerate being around her. How can I help her and keep my sanity? –TOO MUCH CHANGE IN TEXAS
DEAR TOO MUCH: Be gentle with Stella because her change may be beyond her control. Help her by trying to talk frankly with her. Explain how much her personality and image have changed since the accident, and that some of her actions have made people so uneasy they have distanced themselves. Tell her that her comments to your boyfriend made him uncomfortable, and you need them to stop.
I can’t predict how she will react, but you may get through to her. If not, she may end her friendship with you, and you can retain your sanity.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.